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]


Paul Bunyan Op. 17:

  • Operetta in two acts, 114'.
  • Libretto by W. H. Auden, after the American folktale.
  • Premiered on 5 May 1941 at Brander Matthews Hall, New York.
  • Published by Faber Music.

Peter Grimes Op. 33:

The Rape of Lucretia Op. 37:

Albert Herring Op. 39:

  • Comic opera in three acts, 137'.
  • Libretto by Eric Crozier, loosely after the short story Le Rosier de Mme. Husson by Guy de Maupassant.
  • Premiered on 20 June 1947 at Glyndebourne.
  • Published by Boosey and Hawkes.

The Beggar's Opera Op. 43:

Let's Make an Opera (The Little Sweep) Op. 45:

  • An Entertainment for Young People, 130'.
  • Libretto by Eric Crozier.
  • Premiered on 14 June 1949 at Jubilee Hall, Aldeburgh Festival.
  • Published by Boosey and Hawkes.

Billy Budd Op. 50:

  • Opera in four acts, 162'.
  • Libretto by E. M. Forster and Eric Crozier, after the novella by Herman Melville.
  • Premiered on 1 December 1951 at the Royal Opera House, London.
  • Published by Boosey and Hawkes.

Billy Budd (revised) Op. 50:

  • Opera in two acts, 158'.
  • Premiered on 9 January 1964 at the Royal Opera House, London.
  • Published by Boosey and Hawkes.

Gloriana Op. 53:

  • Opera in three acts, 148'.
  • Libretto by William Plomer, after Elizabeth and Essex by Lytton Strachey.
  • Premiered on 8 June 1953 at the Royal Opera House, London.
  • Published by Boosey and Hawkes.

The Turn of the Screw Op. 54:

Noye's Fludde Op. 59:

  • Music-theatre for community performance, 50'.
  • Libretto after the Chester Miracle Play as published in 'English Miracle Plays, Moralities and Interludes'.
  • Premiered on 18 June 1958 at Orford Church, Aldeburgh Festival.
  • Published by Boosey and Hawkes.

A Midsummer Night's Dream Op. 64:

  • Opera in three acts, 144'.
  • Libretto by the composer and Peter Pears, after the play by Shakespeare.
  • Premiered on 11 June 1960 at Jubilee Hall, Aldeburgh Festival.
  • Published by Boosey and Hawkes.

Owen Wingrave Op. 85:

  • Opera for television in two acts, 106'.
  • Libretto by Myfanwy Piper, after the short story by Henry James.
  • Premiered on 16 May 1971 on a BBC2 TV broadcast. Staged at the Royal Opera House, London on the 10th of May 1973.
  • Published by Faber Music.

Death in Venice Op. 88:

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)
  • Ballad of Heroes, Op. 14, for tenor or soprano, chorus and orchestra (words W. H. Auden and Randall Swingler)(1939)
  • 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)(Moderato,Nocturne,Burlesque and Toccata) - rejected by the composer.
  • 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]

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