“I shall never forget the impact made on me by the Japanese theatre”. This was Benjamin Britten, broadcasting to Japan in 1958, two years after his memorable trip to the country in 1956. He had visited as part of a Far East tour beginning in 1955 and which included stays in Bali, Hong Kong and India. The whole trip had a deep and lasting influence on his compositions from around that time onwards, and perhaps most significantly on his 1964 Church Parable Curlew River.

This podcast, hosted by Dr Lucy Walker, explores the background to this fascinating work, including the specific influence of the Japanese Nō play Britten attended, twice, in 1956: Sumidigawa.