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Completed: May-33

Composition dates: 25 November 1932-11 May 1933 [diaries]
revised: October 1955[On revised edition]; 1957-58

Duration: 30 mins

A Boy was Born op. 3


CHORAL VARIATIONS FOR MEN'S, WOMEN'S AND BOYS' VOICES, UNACCOMPANIED (ORGAN AD LIB.)

Dedication

'To my Father'

Formats and Availability

Score on sale and for hire

Movements/songs

Theme: A Boy was Born (anon. 16th century) (SATB) Variation 1: Lullay, Jesu (anon. before 1536) (boys' chorus, SSAATTBB) Variation 2: Herod (anon. 15th century) (SSAATTBB) Variation 3: Jesu, as Thou ar

Performance Information

First performance

23 February 1934, BBC Regional (BBC Concert of Contemporary Music). Wireless Chorus (Section A), choirboys of St Mark's, North Audley Street, London, Leslie Woodgate cond

First concert performance

17 December 1934, Mercury Theatre, London, Macnaghten-Lemare concert. Unnamed choir, boys' voices from St Alban the Martyr, Holborn, Iris Lemare cond

First performance of revised version

22 November 1955, Grosvenor Chapel, South Audley Street, London. Purcell Singers, Imogen Holst cond

Britten recording

1957 (Decca). Michael Hartnett trbl, Purcell Singers, boys' voices of the EOG, Choir of All Saints', Margaret Street, Benjamin Britten cond



Notes

The fair copy was completed on 31 May 1933. The first edition included a piano part for rehearsal only. OUP sought an estimate for printing offprints of all the individual movements in 1933, though only the theme and variations 3-5 were issued separately (see below). However, in 1938, 230 copies of variation 1 were produced especially for the Cambridge University Music Society. [OUP file 251] The work was revised in October 1955 for the performance by the Purcell Singers; [see notes to original Decca recording and BB to OUP, 16.07.1957 and date on 1958 edition] the optional organ part (edited by Ralph Downes) was added in 1957-58, and replaced the piano part in the score. [It was probably completed in late 1958: see IH to OUP: 13.02.1958 (OUP Archive)]





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