EBB Music Publishing
EBB Music Publishing
Four previously unpublished Britten scores from BPF's new online initiative
EBB takes its name from (Edward) Benjamin Britten’s initials, carved on a wall at his old school in Lowestoft. Many of his early childhood manuscripts bear the words ‘Music by E B Britten’ or ‘Music by E Benjamin Britten’. EBB also evokes the sea that was such a lifelong inspiration to him.
Among Britten's unpublished works are pieces that do deserve to be better known and performed. These include ones written when Britten was a student increasingly finding his own musical voice, and music written for films. EBB will publish these as pay-per-print electronic editions, available via the BPF website.
Three of the first pieces published by EBB were written while Britten was at the Royal College of Music. Two were composed in the space of a couple of days in 1931, as Britten recorded in his diary: Going down Hill on a Bicycle
on Monday 29 June, and The Moon
the following morning. Both are for violin and piano, and both dedicated to the violinist Remo Lauricello, a fellow RCM student. The two pieces are very different. Going down Hill
is experimental, almost Schönbergian; The Moon
lyrical and within a tonal framework: two possible musical paths for the young composer to follow. In his diary entry for the day, he considers The Moon
‘more satisfactory than the Bicycle one’.
From the following year, 1932, EBB has published an Allegro
in D major for solo piano. This year, his second at RCM, saw two important milestones in Britten’s composing career: his first published works, Three Two-part Songs, and the piece that would become his opus 1, Sinfonietta
. The Allegro was written on 3 March 1932, a few days after the Songs, and anticipates by a few months the distinctive harmonic world of the Sinfonietta
. Although as a schoolboy Britten wrote well over a hundred pieces for solo piano, almost all are pastiche works. This 1932 Allegro, however, is wholly original, and a worthy addition to the small repertoire of published Britten works for solo piano.
The fourth EBB score presents one of the very few previously unpublished mature Britten works, Philip’s Breeches
, a choral setting of a poem by Charles and Mary Lamb. It was written in July 1936 while Britten was in Cornwall with Lennox Berkeley, and was originally composed without the text. The text - reflecting a characteristic Britten theme - was found to fit the voices in December of the same year.