Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra - Benjamin Britten

The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra, is a musical composition by Benjamin Britten in 1946 with a subtitle "Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Purcell". It was originally commissioned for an educational documentary film called Instruments of the Orchestra, directed by Muir Mathieson and featuring the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Malcolm Sargent. The work is one of the best-known pieces by the composer, and is one of the three popularly-used scores in children's music education, together with Saint-SaënsThe Carnival of the Animals and Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf.

Meeting the great composers - Brahms

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was born in Hamburg, Germany. He studied piano when he was seven and soon began to play well enough to get a job playing in restaurants and theatres. At age 19, he made his first concert tour and when he was 20, he was introduced to Robert Schumann, a famous composer of the time. Schumann gave Brahms a lot of help and encouragement. By the time Brahms was 35, he was a famous composer himself. He had a reputation as a "grump" but was also very loveable. When he went for his daily walks, he passed out candy to children. Brahms has been called one of the three great "B's" of German composers. Do you know who the other two are?

Brahms has composed music both vocal and instrumental music. You may have heard one of the famous piece by him when you were still a baby:

This version is sung by Celine Dion, a famous Canadian singer. The original version of the song is sung in German.

Another tune you may recognize by Brahms is the Hungarian Dance No.5, Let's listen to the tune played on a set of glass harp.

Many people see Brhams as the successor of Beethoven because his composition is brilliant. However, Brahms did not write symphony until later in his composing life because he was afraid that his work is not good enough. He ended up writing 4 symphonies as well as other orchestral piece for chamber music.

Let's travel in time to the 1890's Vienna, where Brhams lived! This adventure will tell you what chamber music was all about.