Benjamin Britten's Six Metamorphoses After Ovid: tracing the trajectory of its popularity, and the factors that make this piece important to this day

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Flick, Camber
Kozenko, Lisa
Truitt, Jon
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Benjamin Britten’s Six Metamorphoses After Ovid, Opus 49 is, arguably, one of the most popular pieces written for unaccompanied oboe. It is regularly programmed and performed by amateurs, students, and professionals worldwide. The purpose of this creative project was to trace the trajectory of the Six Metamorphoses from its first performance at the Aldeburgh Festival on June 14, 1951, until the present day and the factors that have contributed to it becoming a seminal piece of oboe literature. Researching dissertations, journal articles, and conducting interviews with both oboists and composers it is clear that the Six Metamorphoses After Ovid has been influential on the number of solo oboe works available today. Britten’s compositional effectiveness in his use of mythological characters, taken from the ancient Roman poet Pūblius Ovidius Nāsō’s literary work Metamorphoses, is a main factor in the popularity of this piece. Included in this paper is a description of each mythological character, the technical nuances of each movement, and interviews with oboe pedagogues that support this information.