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Friday Afternoons facts for kids

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Friday Afternoons is a collection of 12 song settings by Benjamin Britten, composed 1933–35 for the pupils of Clive House School, Prestatyn, where his brother, Robert, was headmaster. Two of the songs, "Cuckoo" and "Old Abram Brown", were featured in the film Moonrise Kingdom.


Not long after graduating from the Royal College of Music, Britten started composing his collection of mostly unison songs (the last song, "Old Abram Brown", being in canon) to texts he selected from Walter de la Mare's anthology Come Hither. Britten noted in his diary on 2 November 1933 (just over a month before his twentieth birthday) that he had composed that afternoon "a song, for R.H.M.B. & Clive House, very light & bad – 'I mun be married a Sunday'". "Ee-Oh!" followed on 19 December.

There was no further mention in Britten’s diary of composing school songs until May 1934, when he spent time with Robert at Clive House and helped by coaching pupils in cricket and taking singing classes. He then resumed work on his songs, including "A New Year Carol", a setting of the traditional "Levy-Dew". He completed the collection in August 1935 with the song "Begone, Dull Care".

The title of the collection was originally Twelve Songs for Schools, but at the suggestion of Robert Britten was changed to Friday Afternoons, since class singing was held at Clive House at that time in the week. Britten dedicated Friday Afternoons "To R.H.M. Britten and the boys of Clive House, Prestatyn".


  1. "Begone, Dull Care" (Anon.)
  2. "A Tragic Story" (Thackeray)
  3. "Cuckoo!" (Jane Taylor)
  4. "Ee-Oh!" (Anon.)
  5. "A New Year Carol" (Anon., ed. Walter de la Mare)
  6. "I Mun Be Married on Sunday" (Nicholas Udall)
  7. "There Was a Man of Newington" (Anon.)
  8. "Fishing Song" (Izaak Walton)
  9. "The Useful Plough" (Anon.)
  10. "Jazz-Man" (Eleanor Farjeon)
  11. "There Was a Monkey" (Anon.)
  12. "Old Abram Brown" (Anon.)
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