For string orchestra (or string quartet), op. 4
Period of composition: 23 Dec 1933 - 10 Feb 1934
First performance: 6 Mar 1934 >>
Type of performance: Concert performance
Location: Stuart Hall, Norwich
Performance details:

The Norwich String Orchestra, Benjamin Britten cond

Genre: Orchestral or chamber
Duration: 18'
Dedication: 'Dedicated to Audrey Alston (Mrs Lincolne Sutton)'

Audrey Alston (1883-1966), English violinist and viola player. Britten's viola teacher in the 1920s.


Britten describes this piece as a 'Kid's suite' or 'School suite' in his diaries from 21 December 1933 until 3 March 1934 which appears to be the first mention of it as 'Simple Symphony'. Britten's note in the published scores states that the piece was entirely based on material which he wrote between the ages of nine and twelve. Many of Britten’s early manuscripts were retrospectively dated by the composer at some point, and it is reasonable to assume that this process was started during the hunt for suitable pieces for this work. See individual movements for further details.