Britten composed the Third Suite in 1971, inspired by Rostropovich’s playing of the unaccompanied Cello Suites of Bach. Rostropovich first performed the suite at the Snape Maltings, 21 December 1974. In 1979 the Britten Estate authorised Julian Lloyd Webber to make the suite’s first recording.
The work incorporates four Russian themes, including three arrangements of folksongs by Pyotr Tchaikovsky, reminiscent of Beethoven’s use of Russian themes in the Razumovsky quartets. The final Russian tune, stated simply at the end of the set, is the Kontakion, the Russian Orthodox Hymn for the Dead. Philip Brett considers the Third Suite to be the most passionate of the three.
This project was developed as part of the “CreArt Music Festival Web Experience Edition”. CreArtBox explored how to make “a music festival on a website”. With visual artists and dancers to present an interactive online program based around classical and contemporary repertoire for solo flute, piano, violin, cello, baritone and piano, and flute and piano.
Explore the festival here.