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Benjamin Britten: Life, Works and Comparing Ethos in Research

By Matt Spencer Intro to Music Literature August 30, 2013

1 2 (Burkholder. the acceptance of foreign cultures happens much sooner than the acceptance of homosexuality. He was born November 22. Conductor and Pianist. he took big risks writing music about homosexuality (Billy Budd and Death in Venice3).wikipedia. For Britten’s time. During Britten’s time. The Civil Rights Movement was happening.” brings light to an interesting aspect of Britten’s personal life which heavily influenced his composition. for cathedral choirs and for professionals. His main influence for writing was to communicate. specifically in the introduction.”1 In his effort to communicate he wrote much music for amateurs. which resemble Aaron Copland’s compositions by utilizing a “clear and widely appealing idiom. As history shows us. Then the piece progresses through 13 unique variations for the different instruments in the orchestra. It is because of the slight variations in the melody and rhythm which make his music memorable to the audience. 927) 3 . In this paper I would like to examine his life. was attracted to young boys.Benjamin Britten was an English composer.2 His life partner Peter Pears was a tenor. Much of his composition style was based on modernist techniques. repeats a familiar melody throughout each section (including the percussion). for schools. 926) (Burkholder. This movement was very important for the acceptance and tolerance of African Americans. a cause we are still fighting for today. A History of Western Music: Eighth Edition by Burkholder addresses Benjamin Britten’s use of modernist techniques.E. The title of the piece “The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra. and the two did much collaboration in music. Britten was a homosexual and according to the Wikipedia article.). The textbook. some of his famous works and the credibility of the sources used while researching. The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra (1945 C. Britten took big risks in writing Bill Budd and Death in Venice because they contained themes that related to homosexuality. 1913 in Suffolk and studied at the Royal College of Music.

while the book did a brief overview of his works. his partner. According to Philip Brent (New Grove Music Dictionary) he died in the arms of Peter I found that the New Grove article focused much more into his life and his works. I would say. and the Wikipedia Article focused much on the controversies around his life. died a happy death.8 .oxfordmusiconline.Britten. 4 http://www.