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Moonrise Kingdom

What's the Britten music used in Wes Anderson's new movie?


The film that opened the 2012 Cannes Film Festival draws on the director's own experience of performing in Benjamin Britten's opera for children, Noye's Fludde. At the post-screening press conference for Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom - which goes on general release on 25 May - he revealed that "the Britten music had a huge effect on the whole movie, I think. The movie's sort of set to it. The play of Noye's Fludde that is performed in it - my older brother and I were actually in a production of that when I was ten or eleven, and that music is something I've always remembered, and made a very strong impression on me. It is the colour of the movie in a way."

The movie's trailer also features music from two other classic Britten works for children.





The first music heard in the trailer soundtrack is 'Cuckoo!' from Songs for Friday Afternoons. Britten wrote these songs for his brother, a headmaster, to use in the Friday afternoon music lessons that were a feature of his school.

The rousing orchestral music at the end of the trailer is from The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra, composed by Britten in 1945 for an educational film and still a firm familiy favourite in concert halls all over the world. You can watch a wonderful performance of the whole work, given by the YouTube Symphony Orchestra in Sydney last year, on YouTube.

To find out more about Noye's Fludde, and why the young cast in the movie trailer are dressed as birds, check out our introductory video to the opera. Here you can also see photos and costumes from the original 1958 production of Noye's Fludde, browse part of Britten's composition draft and listen to a demo recording Britten and friends made at The Red House.