Thu Le Plays Nocturnal, Op.70 by Benjamin Britten

Thu Le plays Nocturnal after John Dowland, Op. 70 by English composer Benjamin Britten (1913–1976). This comes via Thu Le’s YouTube channel. Nocturnal is one of my favourite works in the modern guitar repertoire so I’m always excited to share it on the site. Thu Le plays it with an amazing clarity and forward momentum. For those who don’t know the work it’s a set of reverse theme and variations with the theme by English Renaissance lutenist and composer John Dowland occurring at the end. More on the work via my post on it or Le’s YouTube description:

Nocturnal Op 70 is considered to be one of the most influential works written in the 20th Century for classical guitar.

Completed in 1963, Benjamin Britten’s composition for solo guitar was premiered by Julian Bream at the Aldeburg Festival of 1964. Consisting of nine movements, the work is essentially a set of variations on a song by John Dowland: Come, heavy sleep.

Nocturnal incorporates aspects of Britten’s composing style: his love of Elizabethan music, his pre-occupation with night, sleep and dreams plus his interest in variation technique.

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