The Church Parables are a very interesting experiment in form and contain some lovely music. Britten designed these to be presented in churches though they could certainly be done in a variety of small performance spaces. While some of the vocal music sounds hard to sing but the number of performers required for these pieces is quite modest. They seem to be designed to be something of an equivalent of Medieval miracle plays, focusing on themes of faith and redemption. Two of them, The Prodigal Son and the Burning Fiery Furnace are drawn from Biblical stories and all the music is written with a Medieval flavor. The first Church Parable, Curlew River, is probably the most interesting. A re-imagining of a Japanese Noh drama, Curlew River is the most experimental in form and content. Britten's attempt to recast this Noh play in a western form is quite successful. The Prodigal Son and the Burning Fiery Furnace, well known Biblical tales, are more conventional in form. Of the two, Burning Fiery Furnace has the more inviting music. As a group, these are really enjoyable pieces, and I think Curlew River is one of Britten's best works. Given their small scale, I'm surprised they are not performed more often.