A new iPad app aimed at introducing young children to the symphony orchestra through Britten’s A Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra has been unveiled to mark the composer’s centenary.
The app, which is available on iTunes for free, includes a specially recorded performance of Britten‘s work by the Royal Northern College of Music Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Mark Elder, as well as a host of games and quizzes including an aural ‘guess the instrument’ quiz and a ‘Be the composer’ game. (Have a go below!)
The app also includes interviews with musicians and Sir Mark as well as a video of the recorded performance.
The app also includes specially commissioned illustrations by Sara Fanelli.
Children – and the young at heart – can rearrange Britten’s score in the Fugue and Variation Games, test their knowledge of orchestral instruments or simply enjoy this fine recording while following the score.
It will feature in the British Library exhibition Poetry in Sound: The Music of Benjamin Britten (1913-1976), which runs until 15 September. The manuscript of The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra will be displayed here for the first time as part of an exploration of Britten’s poetic and literary influences.
Richard Jarman, director of the Britten-Pears Foundation, said: ‘We started by asking how Britten would have done this if he were alive today and could use our modern technologies. Our answer has been to create an App that will give children and families lots of fun in exploring the orchestra and its instruments.’