Although it has generated less hoopla than the Verdi and Wagner
bicentennials this season, the English composer Benjamin Britten’s 100th
birthday is also cause for celebration in 2013. Major events loom as
Britten’s actual birth date (Nov. 22) draws near. But on Tuesday, the
Knights, a terrific independent orchestra, get a jump on the festivities
with their second appearance in the free Naumburg Orchestral Concerts
series in Central Park.
The orchestra’s program includes one of Britten’s most distinctive
masterpieces, the Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings, which he wrote
in 1943 for his partner, the tenor Peter Pears, and the great
French-horn player Dennis Brain. Nicholas Phan, a distinguished young
tenor who has released two memorable albums of Britten’s songs, is
featured alongside the Knights horn player Michael P. Atkinson. Also on
the program are concertos by Johann Sebastian Bach, his son C. P. E.
Bach and Stravinsky, as well as the premiere of a Chaconne credited to
the entire orchestra. (7:30 p.m., Naumburg Bandshell, midpark at 70th