- Occasional Overture, for orchestra in C major, Op. 38 (withdrawn)
- Variations on a Theme by Frank Bridge, for strings, Op. 10
- Prelude & Fugue, for 18 strings, Op. 29
- Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra (Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Purcell), for speaker ad lib & orchestra, Op. 34
First released in 1992 by Collins Classics, this CD of two of Benjamin Britten's most popular masterpieces and two minor orchestral works is given a well-deserved reissue by Naxos. The boisterous but little-known "Occasional Overture" -- withdrawn from performance by Britten and published posthumously in 1984 -- and the "Prelude and Fugue for 18 strings, Op. 29," are interesting byways for the curious, but not essential pieces for the casual listener to know. The fascinating "Variations on a Theme by Frank Bridge, Op. 10," however, is an important work that helped establish Britten's career, and the "Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra (Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Henry Purcell), Op. 34," is an indispensable work of genius, thoroughly enjoyable and recommended for children and adults alike. Steuart Bedford and the strings of the English Chamber Orchestra -- experienced in performing Britten's works like few other ensembles -- give wonderfully vivid renditions of the Variations and the prelude and fugue. But it takes the London Symphony Orchestra, also under Bedford, to play with unalloyed enthusiasm the "Young Person's Guide," with its inventive run-through of the instruments and its glorious fugue, all based on Purcell's dignified theme from "Abdelazar." The reproduction, apparently untouched from the original release, is fine.