List of compositions by Benjamin Britten

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Benjamin Britten in 1968

This list of compositions includes all the published works by English composer Benjamin Britten with opus number.

By genre[edit]


Title Opus Description Libretto and source Premiere Publ.
Paul Bunyan Op. 17 Operetta in two acts, 114' W. H. Auden, after the American folktale 5 May 1941, Brander Matthews Hall, New York Faber
Peter Grimes Op. 33 Opera in a prologue and three acts, 147' Montagu Slater, after the poem The Borough by George Crabbe 7 June 1945, Sadler's Wells, London B&H
RapeThe Rape of Lucretia Op. 37 Opera in two acts, 107' Ronald Duncan, after the play Le Viol de Lucrèce by André Obey 12 July 1946, Glyndebourne B&H
Albert Herring Op. 39 Comic opera in three acts, 137' Eric Crozier, loosely after the short story Le Rosier de Mme. Husson by Guy de Maupassant 20 June 1947, Glyndebourne B&H
BeggarThe Beggar's Opera Op. 43 Ballad opera, 108' after the ballad opera by John Gay 24 May 1948, Cambridge Arts Theatre B&H
LetLet's Make an Opera (The Little Sweep) Op. 45 An Entertainment for Young People, 130' Eric Crozier 14 June 1949, Jubilee Hall, Aldeburgh Festival B&H
Billy1Billy Budd Op. 50 Opera in four acts, 162' E. M. Forster and Eric Crozier, after the novella by Herman Melville 1 December 1951, Royal Opera House, London B&H
Billy2Billy Budd (revised) Op. 50 Opera in two acts, 158' 9 January 1964, Royal Opera House, London (revised version) B&H
Gloriana Op. 53 Opera in three acts, 148' William Plomer, after Elizabeth and Essex by Lytton Strachey 8 June 1953, Royal Opera House, London B&H
TurnThe Turn of the Screw Op. 54 Opera in a prologue and two acts, 101' Myfanwy Piper, after the novella by Henry James 14 September 1954, Teatro La Fenice, Venice B&H
Noye's Fludde Op. 59 Music-theatre for community performance, 50' After the Chester Miracle Play 18 June 1958, Orford Church, Aldeburgh Festival B&H
MidsummerA Midsummer Night's Dream Op. 64 Opera in three acts, 144' the composer and Peter Pears, after the play by Shakespeare 11 June 1960, Jubilee Hall, Aldeburgh Festival B&H
Owen Wingrave Op. 85 Opera for television in two acts, 106' Myfanwy Piper, after the short story by Henry James 16 May 1971, BBC2 TV broadcast; 10 May 1973, Royal Opera House, London (staged) Faber
Death in Venice Op. 88 Opera in two acts, 145' Myfanwy Piper, after the novella by Thomas Mann 16 June 1973, Snape Maltings, Aldeburgh Festival Faber

Church parables[edit]




  • Rondo Concertante for piano and strings (1930)
  • Double Concerto for Violin, Viola and Orchestra (1932) "Instrumentation...virtually 100% Britten" (Matthews, Erato sleeve note, 1999 - Colin Matthews realised the orchestration).
  • Piano Concerto (1938, rev. 1945, the original third movement – Recitative and Aria – replaced by an Impromptu)
  • Violin Concerto (1939, rev. 1958)
  • Young Apollo, for piano, string quartet and string orchestra (1939)
  • Diversions for Piano Left Hand and Orchestra (1940 rev. 1954)
  • Scottish Ballad, for two pianos and orchestra (1941)
  • Clarinet Concerto (incomplete: 1st movement only, 1942/3, orch. by Colin Matthews, who later added 2 further movements from 1940s Britten sketches, incl. Sonata for Orchestra; resulting work, "Movements for a Clarinet Concerto," fp 2008)
  • In memoriam Dennis Brain (c. 1958), unfinished sketch for 4 horns and orchestra.
  • Cello Symphony (1963)

Vocal/choral orchestral[edit]

  • Quatre Chansons Françaises, for soprano and orchestra (1928)
  • Two Psalms, for chorus and orchestra (1931)
  • Our Hunting Fathers, for soprano or tenor and orchestra (words W. H. Auden and others) (1936)
  • The Company of Heaven, for speakers, soloists, chorus and orchestra (1937, not performed again until 1989)
  • Les Illuminations, for soprano or tenor and strings (words Arthur Rimbaud) (1939; three further songs, not included in the cycle, also exist — another setting also called 'Phrase', and 'Aube' and 'A une raison'; they have been orchestrated by Colin Matthews; there also exists a sketch for a further Rimbaud setting)
  • Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings (1943)
  • The Ballad of Little Musgrave and Lady Barnard, for Male voice choir and piano (1943)
  • Saint Nicolas, for tenor soloist, children's chorus, chorus, and orchestra (1948)
  • Spring Symphony, for soprano, contralto, and tenor soloists, mixed chorus, boys' choir and orchestra (1949)
  • Nocturne, for tenor, seven obbligato instruments and strings (1958)
  • Cantata academica for soloists, chorus and orchestra (1959)
  • War Requiem for soprano, tenor and baritone soloists, chamber ensemble, boys' chorus, mixed chorus, and orchestra (1961)
  • Cantata misericordium for tenor and baritone soloists, small chorus, string quartet, string orchestra, piano, harp, timpani (1963)
  • Phaedra for mezzo-soprano, cello, harpsichord, percussion, and string orchestra (Robert Lowell after Jean Racine's Phèdre, 1975)
  • Praise we great men, for soloists, chorus and orchestra (Edith Sitwell) (1976, completed by Colin Matthews 1985)



  • A Hymn to the Virgin for chorus and soli (1930; revised 1934)
  • Christ's Nativity for unaccompanied chorus (1931)
  • A Boy was Born for treble voices and choir (1933; revised 1955)
  • Jubilate Deo in E flat for chorus and organ (1934); published posthumously
  • Te Deum in C for treble solo, chorus, trumpet, and organ (1934)
  • Friday Afternoons for children's voices and piano (1935)
  • Advance Democracy for unaccompanied choir (1938)
  • A.M.D.G. (Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam), seven settings of Gerard Manley Hopkins for unaccompanied SATB (1939)
  • A Ceremony of Carols for treble voices and harp (1942); an alternative arrangement for mixed voices and harp (or piano) is popular as well
  • Hymn to St. Cecilia for unaccompanied choir; poem by W. H. Auden (1942)
  • Rejoice in the Lamb for 4 soloists, choir, and organ; text by Christopher Smart (1943)
  • Festival Te Deum in E for chorus and organ (1944)
  • A Wedding anthem 'Amo Ergo Sum' for soprano, tenor, SATB and organ (1949)
  • Five Flower Songs for SATB (1950)
  • Hymn to St. Peter for treble soloist, SATB and organ (1955)
  • Antiphon for SATB and organ, (1955)
  • Missa Brevis for boys' voices and organ (1959)
  • Jubilate Deo in C for chorus and organ (1961)
  • A Hymn of St Columba for chorus and organ (1962)
  • The Golden Vanity for 5 boy soloists, treble chorus and piano (1966)
  • The Building of the House for chorus or organ or brass and orchestra (1967)
  • Children's Crusade for 9 boy soloists and chorus, percussion, organ and two pianos; text Bertolt Brecht, trans. Hans Keller (1968)
  • Sacred and Profane (8 medieval lyrics) for SSATB (1974–5)


Solo piano[edit]

  • Five Waltzes, for piano (1923–25, rev. 1969)
  • Three Character Pieces, for piano (1930)
  • Twelve variations on a theme, for piano (1930)
  • Holiday Diary, for piano (1934)
  • Sonatina romantica, for piano (1940)
  • Night-Piece (Notturno) for piano, written for Leeds International Pianoforte Competition (1963)
  • Variations for piano (1965)

Two pianos[edit]

  • Two Lullabies, for 2 pianos (1936)
  • Introduction and Rondo alla burlesca, for 2 pianos (1940)
  • Mazurka elegiaca, for 2 pianos (1941; written as part of the collaborative album Homage to Paderewski)


String quartet[edit]

  • String Quartet in F major (1928)
  • Rhapsody (1929)
  • Quartettino (1930)
  • String Quartet in D major (1931, revised 1974)
  • Alla Marcia (1933)
  • Three Divertimenti, for string quartet (1933, revised 1936): March, Waltz, Burlesque
  • String Quartet No. 1 in D major (1941)
  • String Quartet No. 2 in C major (1945)
  • String Quartet No. 3 in G major (1975)

Violin and piano[edit]

  • Suite for Violin and Piano (1935)

Viola and piano[edit]

  • Reflections for viola and piano (1930)
  • Lachrymae, Reflections on a song of Dowland for viola and piano (1950) after "If My Complaints Could Passions Move" by John Dowland, for William Primrose
  • There is a willow grows aslant a brook (1932), an arrangement of the orchestral poem by Frank Bridge. The title is taken from Shakespeare, and the arrangement by Britten is dedicated to Bridge.

Violin, viola and piano[edit]

  • Two Pieces (written 1929; first performance 2003)[1]

Solo viola[edit]

  • Etude (1929)
  • Elegy (1930)

Cello and piano[edit]

Solo cello[edit]

Oboe and piano[edit]

  • Two Insect Pieces, for oboe and piano (1935)
  • Temporal Variations, for oboe and piano (1936)

Oboe and Strings[edit]

  • Phantasy Quartet, Op. 2, for oboe, violin, viola, and cello (1932)

Solo oboe[edit]

Flute, violin and piano 4-hands[edit]

  • Gemini Variations, for flute, violin and piano four hands (1965)

Solo timpani[edit]

  • Timpani Piece for Jimmy, timpani solo (1955) for James Blades

Three trumpets[edit]



  • Suite for Solo Harp (1969)

Film music[edit]

By opus number[edit]


  1. ^ Cambridge Journals
  2. ^ Oliver, p. 215