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Benjamin Britten aWord

Benjamin Britten aWord

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Published by: zflash on Jul 04, 2014
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Zach Castle 2/28/14 Alex Ross
s chapter on Benjamin Britten showcases several aspects of Britten
s life, his childhood, and hinted at by the title,
Peter Grimes
. Let us begin with a specific aspect of Britten
s life: his homosexual orientation and his contribution to the world of music, especially that of composition. Ross argues that homosexual men account for a large amount of musical composition of the last hundred years, being the 20th century to present. Ross focuses on this aspect of Britten
s life and then gives more statistics of Britten
s homosexuality while relating it to things such as classical music and gay culture, saying that opera dared to go where some pop music wouldn
t in the early 20th century, and so forth. Some writers and biographers of Britten
s life would not touch upon this topic, but it was a huge part of Britten
s life; after all his partner, Peter Pears, helped him write many of his pieces for the opera
Peter Grimes
 and some of his other works. Revealing Britten
s homosexuality allows Ross to unveil many statistics that he otherwise could not have. All in all, it can be said that Ross
s argument here is that his sexual orientation did not prevent him from flourishing in the musical world, and in life in general. This quote is evidence of Ross
s argument:
Much else about Britten was at odds with Cold War social norms: his pacifism, his leftism, and especially his homosexuality. Nonetheless, Britten succeeded in becoming a respected national figure, a focus of British pride.
 I will now turn my attention to the relationship between Britten and Dmitri Shostakovich, a famous composer who lived in the same era as Britten. Ross argues that Britten uses sounds of Shostakovich, if you will, such as the
Lady Macbeth-
like Passacaglia in
Peter Grimes
 shows.
 Ross continues to talk about Shostakovich and his music, featuring specific pieces and their properties, tying it all back to Britten
s
Peter Grimes.
 This goes to show that friendships

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