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Benjamin Britten

“Britten” redirects here.

For other uses, see Britten the operas are the struggle of an outsider against a hostile
society, and the corruption of innocence.
Britten’s other works range from orchestral to choral,
solo vocal, chamber and instrumental as well as film music. He took a great interest in writing music for children and amateur performers, including the opera Noye’s
Fludde, a Missa Brevis, and the song collection Friday Afternoons. He often composed with particular performers
in mind. His most frequent and important muse was his
personal and professional partner, the tenor Peter Pears;
others included Kathleen Ferrier, Jennifer Vyvyan, Janet
Baker, Dennis Brain, Julian Bream, Dietrich FischerDieskau and Mstislav Rostropovich. Britten was a celebrated pianist and conductor, performing many of his
own works in concert and on record. He also performed and recorded works by others, such as Bach's
Brandenburg concertos, Mozart symphonies, and song cycles by Schubert and Schumann.
Together with Pears and the librettist and producer Eric
Crozier, Britten founded the annual Aldeburgh Festival
in 1948, and he was responsible for the creation of Snape
Maltings concert hall in 1967. In his last year, he was the
first composer to be given a life peerage.

1 Life and career

Britten in the mid-1960s (photograph by Hans Wild)

Edward Benjamin Britten, Baron Britten, OM CH 1.1
(22 November 1913 – 4 December 1976) was an English
composer, conductor and pianist. He was a central figure of 20th-century British classical music, with a range
of works including opera, other vocal music, orchestral
and chamber pieces. His best-known works include the
opera Peter Grimes (1945), the War Requiem (1962) and
the orchestral showpiece The Young Person’s Guide to the
Orchestra (1945).
Born in Suffolk, the son of a dentist, Britten showed talent from an early age. He studied at the Royal College of
Music in London and privately with the composer Frank
Bridge. Britten first came to public attention with the a
cappella choral work A Boy was Born in 1934. With the
premiere of Peter Grimes in 1945, he leapt to international
fame. Over the next 28 years, he wrote 14 more operas,
establishing himself as one of the leading 20th-century
composers in the genre. In addition to large-scale operas
for Sadler’s Wells and Covent Garden, he wrote “chamber operas” for small forces, suitable for performance in
venues of modest size. Among the best known of these
is The Turn of the Screw (1954). Recurring themes in

Early years

Britten’s birthplace in Lowestoft, which was the Britten family
home for over twenty years

Britten was born in the fishing port of Lowestoft in
Suffolk, on the east coast of England on 22 November



1913,[1] the feast day of Saint Cecilia.[2] He was the
youngest of four children of Robert Victor Britten (1878–
1934) and his wife Edith Rhoda, née Hockey (1874–
1937).[n 1] Robert Britten’s youthful ambition to become
a farmer had been thwarted by lack of capital, and he
had instead trained as a dentist, a profession he practised successfully but without pleasure. While studying at
Charing Cross Hospital in London he met Edith Hockey,
the daughter of a junior Home Office official. They were
married in September 1901 at St John’s, Smith Square,


Britten was outraged at the severe corporal punishments
frequently handed out, and later he said that his lifelong pacifism probably had its roots in his reaction to
the regime at the school.[19] He himself rarely fell foul of
Sewell, a mathematician, in which subject Britten was a
star pupil. The school had no musical tradition, and Britten continued to study the piano with Ethel Astle. From
the age of ten he took viola lessons from a friend of his
mother’s, Audrey Alston, who had been a professional
player before her marriage.[20] In his spare time he composed prolifically. When his Simple Symphony, based on
The consensus among biographers of Britten is that his these juvenilia, was recorded in 1956, Britten wrote this
pen-portrait of his young self for the sleeve note:
father was a loving but somewhat stern and remote
parent. Britten, according to his sister Beth, “got on
well with him and shared his wry sense of humour, dedOnce upon a time there was a prep-school
ication to work and capacity for taking pains”.[6] Edith
boy. ... He was quite an ordinary little boy ...
Britten was a talented amateur musician and secretary of
he loved cricket, only quite liked football (althe Lowestoft Musical Society.[7] In the English provinces
though he kicked a pretty “corner”); he adored
of the early 20th century, distinctions of social class were
mathematics, got on all right with history, was
taken very seriously. Britten described his family as
scared by Latin Unseen; he behaved fairly well,
“very ordinary middle class”, but there were aspects of
only ragged the recognised amount, so that his
the Brittens that were not ordinary: Edith’s father was
contacts with the cane or the slipper were hapillegitimate, and her mother was an alcoholic; Robert
pily rare (although one nocturnal expedition to
Britten was an agnostic and refused to attend church
stalk ghosts left its marks behind); he worked
on Sundays.[8] Music was the principal means by which
his way up the school slowly and steadily, unEdith Britten strove to maintain the family’s social standtil at the age of thirteen he reached that pining, inviting the pillars of the local community to musical
nacle of importance and grandeur never to be
soirées at the house.[9]
quite equalled in later days: the head of the
Sixth, head-prefect, and Victor Ludorum. But
When Britten was three months old he contracted pneu– there was one curious thing about this boy: he
monia and nearly died.[10] The illness left him with a
wrote music. His friends bore with it, his enedamaged heart,[11] and doctors warned his parents that he
mies kicked a bit but not for long (he was quite
would probably never be able to lead a normal life.[12] He
tough), the staff couldn't object if his work and
recovered more fully than expected, and as a boy was a
games didn't suffer. He wrote lots of it, reams
keen tennis player and cricketer. To his mother’s great
and reams of it.[21]
delight he was an outstandingly musical child, unlike his
sisters, who inherited their father’s indifference to music,
while his brother, though musically talented, was interested only in ragtime.[14] Edith gave the young Britten his
first lessons in piano and notation. He made his first attempts at composition when he was five.[15] He started piano lessons when he was seven years old, and three years
later began to play the viola.[16] He was one of the last
composers brought up on exclusively live music: his father refused to have a gramophone or, later, a radio in the





When he was seven Britten was sent to a dame school,
run by the Misses Astle. The younger sister, Ethel, gave
him piano lessons; in later life he said that he remained
grateful for the excellence of her teaching.[17] The following year he moved on to his prep school, South Lodge,
Lowestoft, as a day boy.[18] The headmaster, Thomas
Sewell, was an old-fashioned disciplinarian; the young Frank Bridge, Britten’s teacher

[24] Audrey Alston was a friend of Bridge.3 Early professional life Audrey Alston encouraged Britten to go to symphony concerts in Norwich.2 Public school and Royal College of Music RCM staff. Ireland. 1 (1932). he despised the music master. where his brother was headmaster.[25] Robert Britten.[43] Britten was not enthusiastic about the prospect of working fulltime in the BBC music department and was relieved when what came out of the interview was an invitation to write the score for a documentary film. Prestatyn. Britten was not. At the time he felt unhappy there. Authorities differ on the extent of Bridge’s influence on his pupil’s technique. written in 1933 for the BBC Singers. at Bridge’s instigation. even writing in his diary of contemplating suicide or running away:[30] he hated being separated from his family. At one of these. a collection of 12 songs for the pupils of Clive House School. but was eventually dissuaded by his parents.[44] Britten became a member of the film unit’s small group . Britten was invited to a job interview by the BBC's director of music Adrian Boult and his assistant Edward Clark. and was twice winner of the Ernest Farrar Prize for composition. who first performed it the following year.[37] He continued to study privately with Bridge.[n 5] He intended postgraduate study in Vienna with Alban Berg. when he returned to Norwich for the next festival in 1927 she brought her not quite 14-yearold pupil to meet him.[23] and he was. go on to his public school the following year but would make regular day-trips to London to study composition with Bridge and piano with his colleague Harold Samuel. most particularly from his mother. Norfolk.[38] although he later praised Ireland for “nurs[ing] me very gently through a very. Op.[33] Britten was at the RCM from 1930 to 1933. a compromise was agreed by which Britten would. and the Quatre Chansons Françaises. doubted the wisdom of pursuing a composing career. He won the Sullivan Prize for composition. though he was not the target of it.[38] Bridge impressed on Britten the importance of scrupulous attention to the technical craft of composing[n 2] and the maxim that “you should find yourself and be true to what you found.[41] In this same period he wrote Friday Afternoons. he won a composition scholarship at the Royal College of Music (RCM) in London. Shostakovich and. the Cobbett Prize for chamber music. very difficult musical adolescence”.2. he was not greatly impressed by the establishment: he found his fellow-students “amateurish and folksy” and the staff “inclined to suspect technical brilliance of being superficial and insincere”. Humphrey Carpenter and Michael Oliver judge that Britten’s abilities as an orchestrator were essentially self-taught. completed in April 1928. The King’s Stamp. S P Waddington. Arnold Schoenberg's student.”[28] The earliest substantial works Britten composed while studying with Bridge are the String Quartet in F. conducted by the composer. in his own phrase. and he was shocked at the prevalence of bullying.[31][n 3] He remained there for two years and in 1930. during the triennial Norfolk and Norwich Festival on 30 October 1924. studying composition with Ireland and piano with Arthur Benjamin. as planned. his examiners were the composers John Ireland and Ralph Vaughan Williams and the college’s harmony and counterpoint teacher.[42] 1. clockwise from top left: Mahler. said that Ireland could be “an inspiring teacher to those on his own wavelength".[26] 3 In September 1928 Britten went as a boarder to Gresham’s School.[29] Donald Britten also used his time in London to attend conMitchell considers that Bridge had an important influence certs and become better acquainted with the music on the cycle. in Holt. and after they had gone through some of Britten’s compositions together he invited him to come to London to take lessons from him. Bridge was impressed with the boy. “knocked sideways”. and a set of choral variations A Boy was Born. and learned little from him. a song-cycle for high voice and orchestra.[28] of Stravinsky.[40] The first of Britten’s compositions to attract wide attention were composed while at the RCM: the Sinfonietta.[35][n 4] Another Ireland pupil. directed by Alberto Cavalcanti for the GPO Film Unit. Stravinsky In February 1935.[22] he heard Frank Bridge's orchestral poem The Sea. It was the first substantial piece of modern music he had ever encountered. Shostakovich. Mahler. most particularly. on the advice of the 1. supported by Thomas Sewell.[34] These honours notwithstanding.1.3 Early professional life Early influences. the composer Humphrey Searle.

and under-rehearsed and inadequate performances.[49] In April 1939 Britten and Pears sailed to North America. and he met the tenor Peter transcriptions for piano duo made by the Canadian com- . Britten also felt the urge to return. and subsequently other works including Cabaret Songs.[58] When the Second World War began. and also to come to terms with his homosexuality.[51] Later in the year he got to know Pears while they were both helping to clear out the country cottage of a mutual friend who had died in an air crash.[53] During 1937 Britten composed a Pacifist March to words by Ronald Duncan for the Peace Pledge Union.[54] The best known of his compositions from this period is probably Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge for string orchestra. Britten encountered his latest works Billy the Kid and An Outdoor Overture. Cecilia. puritanical and conventional by nature.[50] Only after that did he begin to engage in emotional relationships with people his own age or younger. radical both in politics and musical treatment.[28][57] Britten and Pears consummated their relationship and from then until Britten’s death they were partners in both their professional and personal lives. Paul Bunyan and Hymn to St. They had several reasons for leaving England. through ten’s life: his mother died. described by Matthews as the first of Britten’s works to become a popular classic. New York.[52] Pears quickly became Britten’s musical inspiration and close (though for the moment platonic) friend. hostile or belittling reviews of Britten’s music in the English press.his first encounter with Balinese gamelan music. including the difficult position of pacifists in an increasingly bellicose Europe.[56] Pears was inclined to disregard the advice and go back to England.[56] 1. the departure of Auden and his friend Christopher Isherwood to the US from England three months previously. “A thousand gleaming fires”. The Ascent of F6 (1936).[45] They also collaborated on the song cycle Our Hunting Fathers (1936). was sexually repressed. as David Matthews puts it. both of which influenced his own music. with performances in Toronto. Britten had In 1937 there were two events of huge importance in Brit.[60] In 1940 Britten composed Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo. the success that Frank Bridge had enjoyed in the US. cinema and radio. he had become an active member. for tenor and strings. Auden was.[47] Britten composed prolifically in this period. the first of many song cycles for Pears. and of the music for radio. among the theatre music he selects for mention. to a libretto by Auden. as a pacifist.4 1 LIFE AND CAREER Pears.[57] While in the US. Britten and Pears turned for advice to the British embassy in Washington and were told that they should remain in the US as artistic ambassadors. Together they worked on the documentary films Coal Face and Night Mail in 1935. In the three years from 1935 to 1937 he wrote nearly 40 scores for the theatre. Britten. Chicago and San Francisco.4 America 1939–42 W H Auden in 1939 of regular contributors.[61] Britten’s orchestral works from this period include the Violin Concerto and Sinfonia da Requiem. going first to Canada and then to New York. another of whom was W H Auden.[48] Among the film music of the late 1930s Matthews singles out Night Mail and Love from a Stranger (1937). Paul Bunyan. the work was not a success and was soon withdrawn. under conductors including John Barbirolli and Serge Koussevitzky. encouraging him to widen his aesthetic. intellectual and political horizons. In 1941 Britten produced his first music drama. Britten’s first work for him was composed within weeks of their meeting. On the Frontier (1938) and Johnson Over Jordan (1939). Boston. of which. On This Island. “cheerfully and guiltlessly promiscuous". but accepted the embassy’s counsel and persuaded Pears to do the same.[46] Auden was a considerable influence on Britten.[59] Already a friend of the composer Aaron Copland.[55] It was a success in North America. an operetta. King Arthur (1937) and The Sword in the Stone (1939). Although Britten was extraordinarily devoted to his mother and was devastated at her death. it also seems to have been something of a liberation for him. a setting of Emily Brontë's poem.

always generous in encouraging new talent.[n 7] There were complaints from company members works such as Les Illuminations. when he told his time there in 1944 working on the opera Peter Grimes. A month after the opening of Peter Britten composed after his return.most of all.. Thomson described Les Illuminations (1940) as “little more than a series of bromidic and facile 'effects’ . as well as some ill-suppressed homophobic remarks. at Belsen she bequeathed him to buy the Old Mill in Snape. Robinson surmises that Thomson was motivated by “a mixture of spite. Suf.”[75] Dismayed by the in-fighting among the company.5 Return to England 5 poser Colin McPhee. casting herself and Pears in the leading Quartet.[73] its box-office takings matched or exceeded those for La bohème and Madame Butterfly. Gilbert and Sullivan apart. He spent much of about it until towards the end of his life. Virgil Thomson was. the singer Joan Cross. so shocked Britten that he refused to talk folk which became his country home. as the music scholar Suzanne Robinson puts it. the song-cycle tion to re-open the company’s home base in London with The Holy Sonnets of John Donne and the Second String Britten’s opera.[56] Before Britten left the US. whose artis.[62] This musical encounter bore fruit in several Balinese-inspired works later in Britten’s career. goto found what was to become the English Opera Having arrived in Britain.[77] What they saw.[65] 1. Britten had grown away from him. and was equally unflattering about Pears’s voice. set on the Suffolk coast close to Britten’s homeland..5 Return to England In 1942 Britten read the work of the poet George Crabbe for the first time. Britten and but on appeal he gained unconditional exemption.1. contrast strongly with earlier. consistently “severe and spiteful”. During the long transatlantic sea crossing Britten completed the choral works A Ceremony of Carols and Hymn to St Cecilia.000 commission to write the opera. Britten was initially allowed only non-combatant service in the military. offered him a $1. Cross. announced her inten. the doyen of New York music critics.[56][n 6] Britten and Pears returned to England in April 1942. since Purcell.[64] and the Sinfonia da Requiem (already rejected by its Japanese sponsors because of its overtly Christian nature) received a mixed reception when Barbirolli and the New York Philharmonic premiered it in March 1941.[79] Britten recovered his about supposed favouritism and the “cacophony” of Brit.joie de vivre for The Young Person’s Guide to the Orches- . and Irving Kolodin took to Britten’s music. recognition as conscientious objectors. Koussevitzky.[78] Colin Matthews comments that the next two tic director. and Auden became one of the composer’s so-called “corpses” – former intimates from whom he completely cut off contact once they had outlived their usefulness to him or offended him in some way. and professional jealousy”. The reputation of the work was much enhanced when Koussevitzky took it up shortly afterwards. banal and utterly disappointing”. The latter was his last large-scale collaboration with Auden.[69] Page from “Peter Grimes” in 1812 edition of Crabbe's The Borough ten’s score.[74] The opera administrator Lord Harewood called it “the first genuinely successful British opera. national pride. Britten and Pears severed their ties with Sadler’s Wells in December 1945. The two met in the summer of 1939 and subsequently performed a number of McPhee’s transcriptions for a recording. lighter-hearted roles. which were staged during the same season.[66] The Borough. He also knew that he must write an opera based on Crabbe’s poem about the fisherman Peter Grimes. Britten and Pears applied for ing on [76] Group.[63] Moving to the US did not relieve Britten of the nuisance of hostile criticism: although Olin Downes.[56] Paul Bunyan met with wholesale critical disapproval.[72] Peter Grimes opened in June 1945 and was hailed by public and critics.[70] Af.Yehudi Menuhin went to Germany to give recitals to conter the death of his mother in 1937 he had used money centration camp survivors. Pears that it had coloured everything he had written Pears joined Sadler’s Wells Opera Company. awakened in him such longings for England that he knew he must return. pretentious.

[86] Albert Herring played at the Jubilee Hall. one of the two most frequently performed of Britten’s operas. was presented at the first post-war Glyndebourne Festival in 1946. written for an educational film. Arthur Oldham. such a gala[96] – did not overcome what Matthews calls the “ingrained philistinism” of the ruling classes. Billy Budd (1951) was well received at its Covent Garden premiere and was regarded by reviewers as an advance on Peter Grimes.[93] but he later described the teacher–pupil relationship as “beneficial five per cent to [Britten] and ninety-five per cent to me!"[94] Throughout the 1950s Britten continued to write operas. and at 2013 remained.[104] An increasingly important influence on Britten was the music of the East.[84] Britten wrote the comic opera Albert Herring for the group in 1947.[89] Unlike many leading English composers.”[106] These eastern influences were seen and heard in the ballet The Prince of the Pagodas (1957) and later in two of the three semi-operatic “Parables for Church Performance": Curlew River (1964) and The Prodigal Son (1968).[100] together with Peter Grimes it became. Aldeburgh. where Britten had moved from Snape earlier in the year. The group’s express purpose was to produce and commission new English operas and other works.[97][n 9] Although Gloriana did well at the box office. chorus and orchestra.[n 8] but in 1949 he accepted his only private pupil. there were no further productions in Britain for another 13 years. It was then taken on tour to provincial cities under the banner of the “Glyndebourne English Opera Company”.[80] It became. an uneasy alliance of Britten and his associates with John Christie.[87] The festival was an immediate success and became an annual event that has continued into the 21st century.[107] . which he called “some of the most wonderful drama I have ever seen. Britten was not known as a teacher. The Rape of Lucretia. Britten was visited by police officers in 1953 and was so perturbed that he discussed with his assistant Imogen Holst the possibility that Pears might have to enter a sham marriage (with whom is unclear).[99] The Turn of the Screw the following year was an unqualified success. Saint Nicolas. In the end nothing was done. his most often played and popular work. while on tour in the new work Pears came up with the idea of mounting a festival in the small Suffolk seaside town of Aldeburgh.[82] The tour lost money heavily. including the premieres of his operas A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Jubilee Hall in 1960 and Death in Venice at Snape Maltings Concert Hall in 1973. who studied with him for three years. was presented in the parish church. and remained.6 Aldeburgh. acting as musical assistant and arranging Variations on a Theme by Frank Bridge for full orchestra for the Frederick Ashton ballet Le Rêve de Léonor (1949). when Britten once again encountered the music of the Balinese gamelan[105] and saw for the first time Japanese Noh plays. written to mark the coronation of Elizabeth II. directed by Muir Mathieson and featuring the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Malcolm Sargent. and which became his principal residence for the rest of his life.[95] Gloriana (1953). Oldham made himself useful. had a cool reception at the gala premiere in the presence of the Queen and the British Establishment en masse. and Britten’s score – reportedly thought by members of the premiere’s audience “too modern” for John Piper's Benjamin Britten memorial window in the Church of St Peter and St Paul. the librettist Eric Crozier and the designer John Piper joined Britten as artistic directors.[101] In the 1950s the “fervently anti-homosexual” Home Secretary. an interest that was fostered by a tour there with Pears in 1956.[88] New works by Britten featured in almost every festival until his death in 1976. the 1950s The Aldeburgh Festival was launched in June 1948.[103][n 10] Britten and Pears came under scrutiny. The downbeat story of Elizabeth I in her decline. Instruments of the Orchestra.[98] It was later recognised as one of Britten’s finer operas. with Britten.[81] Britten’s next opera. the autocratic proprietor of Glyndebourne.[83] Britten and his associates set up the English Opera Group.[85] 1. David Maxwell Fyfe.6 1 LIFE AND CAREER tra (1945). and Britten’s new cantata for tenor. and Christie announced that he would underwrite no more tours. Pears and Crozier directing it. presenting them throughout the country.[102] urged the police to enforce the Victorian laws making homosexual acts illegal.

six miles inland. The replacement was successful. This brought his career as a performer to an end. it was immediately hailed as one of the best concert halls in the country. his own state of health and mind.hand. because it gets much. chamber ensemble and orchestra. dedicated the symphony to Britten. but Britten was determined that it would be rebuilt in time for the following year’s festival.[114] Britten decided that his work would commemorate the dead of both World Wars in a large-scale score for soloists. the War Re. a friend since 1960.[110] Shostakovich. The Queen again attended the opening performance in 1970.[57] Owen Wingrave was first broadcast in Britain in May 1971. Denmark. chorus. like The Turn of the Screw. a modernist building designed by Basil Spence.8 Last years 1. and Peter Pears. when it was also televised in Austria. who must have had to tear himself in three in order to reconstitute himself as the principal character. but he suffered a slight stroke. was premiered in 1962. “With the War Requiem Britten reached the apex of his reputation: it was almost universally hailed as a masterpiece. He had been asked four years earlier to write a work for the consecration of the new Coventry Cathedral.7 1960s 7 quiem.1. Britten composed his cello suites. France. who had adapted the two Henry James stories for him. Britten conducted the first performance outside Russia of Shostakovich’s Fourteenth Symphony at Snape in 1970. which it was. The old cathedral had been left in ruins by an air-raid on the city in 1940 in which hundreds of people died. the Netherlands.[119] At an early stage in composition Britten was told by his doctors that a heart operation was essential if he was to live for more than two years. Owen Wingrave was based. the Aldeburgh Festival was outgrowing its customary venues. Belgium. The 830-seat Snape Maltings hall was opened by the Queen at the start of the twentieth Aldeburgh Festival on 2 June 1967. Ireland.8 Last years In September 1970 Britten asked Myfanwy Piper.”[117] He did not complete the score of the new opera until August 1970.[109] In 1967 the BBC commissioned Britten to write an opera specially for television. Aschenbach (Mann’s dying protagonist).[113] Perhaps of all his works.[116] By the 1960s. Switzerland. He was determined to finish the opera and worked urgently to complete it before going into hospital for surgery. “Get as much done now as you can. this one went deepest into Britten’s own soul: there are extraordinary cross-currents of affinity between himself.[118] 1. Germany.[108] The hall was destroyed by fire in 1969.[111] he was himself the dedicatee of The Prodigal Son. Matthews writes.[57] By the 1960s Britten found composition much slower than in his prolific youth.[112] Two other Russian musicians who were close to Britten and regularly performed at the festival were the pianist Sviatoslav Richter and the cellist Mstislav Rostropovich. became available for hire. on a ghost story by Henry James.[120] His long-term colleague Colin Graham wrote: Mstislav Rostropovich and Britten. This was Thomas Mann's novella Death in Venice.”[115] Shostakovich told Rostropovich that he believed it to be “the greatest work of the twentieth century”. he told the 28-year-old composer Nicholas Maw. Britten realised that the largest of them could be converted into a concert hall and opera house. Thomas Mann. affecting his right One of the best known of Britten’s works.[57] . Sweden. to turn another prose story into a libretto. 1964 The Maltings gave the festival a venue that could comfortably house large orchestral works and operas. Cello Symphony and Cello Sonata for Rostropovich. the USA and Yugoslavia. and plans to build a new concert hall in Aldeburgh were not progressing.[120] After the completion of the opera Britten went into the National Heart Hospital and was operated on in May 1973 to replace a failing heart valve. who premiered them at the Aldeburgh Festival. a subject he had been considering for some time. When redundant Victorian maltings buildings in the village of Snape. His text interspersed the traditional Requiem Mass with poems by Wilfred Owen. much more difficult as you grow older. Norway.

”[28] .[132] Throughout his adult life. she moved to Aldeburgh in Pears that he always voted either Liberal or Labour and 1974 and looked after him until his death. After the 1976 Aldeburgh Festival. to say their goodbyes to the dying composer.[134] In the 1960s Britten called himself a of that great man . Britten gave him what he had written of Praise We Great Men. both of whom sang treble roles in his works in Britten has sometimes been thought of as agnostic.. of Pears. alised that he could no longer compose. He loved music. notorious for dumping friends and colleagues who either offended him or ceased to be of use – his “corpses”.[135] Politically.[129] When Rostropovich made his farewell visit a few days later. and wrote Welcome Ode for chil. “ ” Peter Maxwell Davies. for voices and orchestra He was not always confident that he was the genius others based on a poem by Edith Sitwell.[126] He returned to declared him to be. he had a wonderful patience and dedicated Christian. according to some commencoming Baron Britten of Aldeburgh in the County of tators. [127] In November. Britten was on the left.”[140] Dame Janet Baker said in 1981.8 2 PERSONAL LIFE AND CHARACTER While in hospital Britten became friendly with a senior to God. as he acknowledged. suffered by Britten before his final heart complaint a life peerage – the first composer so honoured – be.. but the task in hand was more important than anything or anybody. Britoutlook something of a child’s view of the world. but Britten had made it clear that he 2.. The latter said in 1949. but for Janet Baker. Both Mackerras and Harewood joined the list of corpses. Emotionally. Britten never completely grew up. which shocked the puritanical Britten. he was acutely. Abbey on 10 March 1977.[133] the 1950s. the former for joking that the number of boys in Noye’s Fludde must have been a delight to the composer.own works.[128] On his 63rd birthday. “In all of the time Pears said that when they met in 1937 he was not sure that I spent with him he never abused that trust”. and took a long walk in total silence through gently falling snow across a frozen lake.[140] The conductor Sir Charles Mackerras believed that the term was invented by Lord Harewood. Britten accepted a few of them minor but most fairly serious. 13 years old in 2 Personal life and character 1934 when Britten was aged 20. “I think he was quite entitled to take what he wanted from others . He told nursing sister.[146] Other boys Britten befriended were the young David Hemmings and Michael Despite his large number of works on Christian themes.[129] I heard of his death .[122] Carpenter in his 1992 biography mentions 20 illnesses. In July 1976. and whether or not Britten would have described himself as Crawford wrote “I cannot say enough about the kindness a Christian. and the latter for an extramarital affair and subsequent divorce from Lady Harewood. Rita Thomson.over the years [137] developed.[147] Hemmings later said.[129] and he was buried in its churchyard. and the dramatic cantata Phaedra (1975). except the Peace Pledge Britten’s last works include the Suite on English Folk never a[136] Union. and loved views propounded by the Bishop of Woolwich in Honest youngsters caring about music. and though he was hypercritical of his aggressively sensitive to Aldeburgh in August..[57][138] ten and Pears travelled to Norway. He walked and Venice. particularly those in their early teens. at his request Rita Thomson organised a champagne party and invited his friends and his sisters Barbara and Beth. “He has sometimes told me. the last year of his life.[n 12] The first such friendship was with Piers Dunkerley.. The world is colder and lonelier without the presence of our supreme creator of music. 1977[117] Britten was. the Third String Quartet (1975).[121] could not imagine ever voting Conservative. though sympathetic to the radical affinity with young people. He did not want to hurt anyone.”[142] Matthews feels that this aspect of Britten has been exaggerated. where Britten began writing Praise We Great Men. Britten had a particular rapport with children and enjoyed close friendships with several boys. which corresponded exactly to the inexpressible sense of numbness at such a loss.. but he was member of any party.[141] Among other corpses were his librettists Montagu Slater and Eric Crozier. and he observes that the composer sustained many deep friendships to the end of his life. which drew on material from Death in Physically. 22 November. His funeral service was held at Aldeburgh Parish Church three days later. Britten was never robust.[143] Britten died of congestive heart failure on 4 December 1976. at which the congregation was Boys headed by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. jokingly. written swam regularly and kept himself as fit as he could.1 Controversies wished his grave to be side by side with that. even [139] criticism from anybody else. retaining in his [123][n 11] Suffolk. Crawford. Britten redren’s choir and orchestra. in due [131] A memorial service was held at the course.[130] The authorities at Westminster Abbey had offered burial there. with a gravestone carved by Reynolds Stone. that one day I would join the ranks of his 'corpses’ and I have always recognized that any ordinary person must soon outlive his usefulness to such a great creative artist as Ben. Tunes “A Time There Was” (1974).

“to see if I am right about him. most particularly John Bridcut's Britten’s Children (2006). Britten’s musical horizons expanded.[158] Britten was later to assert that his initial development as a composer was stifled by reverence for these masters: “Between the ages of thirteen and sixteen I knew every note of Beethoven and Brahms. sometimes very sharply. Aldeburgh. and hoped that its reputation would not be “tarnished by one sensational speculation . “gave him a model for an orchestral sound”.. the latter’s death in 1935 affected Britten deeply. boys. to the sexless and innocent”.. whose piano music he had once held in great esteem. But I think in a sense I never forgave them for having led me astray in my own particular thinking and natural inclinations”. which Kildea speculates was a result of Pears’s promiscuity while the two were living in New York.. the sea. Britten wrote: “One of my chief aims is to try to restore to the musical setting of the English Lan- . and thought Brigg Fair “delicious” when he heard it in 1931. whose work he compared unfavourably with the “brilliant folk-song arrangements of Percy Grainger".[149] In public. which concentrates on Britten’s friendships and relationships with various children and adolescents. Grainger became the inspiration of many of Britten’s later folk arrangements.[157] 3 Music See also: List of compositions by Benjamin Britten 3.[152] Britten’s grave in St. Britten – along with his contemporary Michael Tippett – was devoted to the English music of the late 17th and early 18th centuries.[25] He discovered the music of Debussy and Ravel which. I remember receiving the full score of Fidelio for my fourteenth birthday . aren't they? Apart from the Bergs. Suffolk Cause of death A more recent controversy was the statement in a 2013 biography of Britten by Paul Kildea that the composer’s heart failure was due to undetected syphilis. Matthews writes. some secondhand hearsay .[154] He described as “complete rubbish” Kildea’s allegation that the surgeon who operated on Britten in 1973 would or even could have covered up a syphilitic condition. in 1952 he confided that he played through all Brahms’s music from time to time.[57] However.[161][162] Britten was also impressed by Delius. the matter was little discussed during Britten’s lifetime and much discussed after it.. and Petrushka were lauded in similar terms. isn't one?" – adding. Richard Morrison praised the rest of Kildea’s book. sunshine... which he found “bewildering and terrifying”. Mozart..[148] and Pears once wrote to Britten: “remember there are lovely things in the world still – children. yet at the same time “incredibly marvellous and arresting”. Stravinskys. I usually find that I underestimated last time how bad it was!"[57] Through his association with Frank Bridge.[159] He developed a particular animosity towards Brahms. Schoenbergs & Bridges one is a bit stumped for names. Some commentators have continued to question Britten’s conduct.[160] Bridge also led Britten to the music of Schoenberg and Berg. The same composer’s Symphony of Psalms. with negative results. Peter and St Paul’s Church. as an afterthought: “Shostakovitch – perhaps – possibly”. like all the hospital’s similar cases. Britten was routinely screened for syphilis before the operation.1 Influences Britten’s early musical life was dominated by the classical masters.[164] Besides his growing attachments to the works of 20th century masters.[165] In defining his mission as a composer of opera.[151] Carpenter and Bridcut conclude that he held any sexual impulses under firm control and kept the relationships affectionate but strictly platonic. you and me”.[155] Kildea continued to maintain.. presenting unsubstantiated gossip as fact”.[156] In The Times.[n 13] Carpenter’s 1992 biography closely examined the evidence. in particular the work of Purcell.[163] Also in that year he heard Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring.[153] In response. as do later studies of Britten. “When all the composer’s symptoms are considered there can be only one cause”.9 It was long suspected by several of Britten’s close associates that there was something exceptional about his attraction to teenage boys: Auden referred to Britten’s “attraction to thin-as-a-board juveniles . he and Stravinsky later developed a mutual antipathy informed by jealousy and mistrust. A letter at that time reveals his thoughts on the contemporary music scene: “The real musicians are so few & far between. Beethoven and Brahms. Britten’s consultant cardiologist said that. his mother’s ambition was for him to become the "Fourth B" – after Bach.[57] By this time Britten had developed a lasting hostility towards the English pastoral school represented by Vaughan Williams and Ireland.

As early as 1948 the music analyst Hans Keller. pacifist and homosexual. and the secular The Golden Vanity was intended to be performed in schools. “accompanied by the colourful. percussive sounds of harps. Curlew River (1964). and lower woodwind and brass for the mechanicals”. he wrote to a friend about the concluding “Abschied” of Das Lied: “It is cruel.. The Rape of Lucretia (1946). extensively revised Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas (1951) and The Fairy-Queen (1967). The Burning Fiery Furnace (1966) and The Prodigal Son (1968) were for church performance. summarising Britten’s impact on 20th-century opera to that poser’s life. to a wider public. 40s and 50s is debated. retaining the original melodies but giving them new.[182] Peter Pears as the General in Owen Wingrave.[181] His 1948 revision of The Beggar’s Opera amounts to a wholesale recomposition.[175] The extent to which this reflected Britten’s perception of himself.[57] In A Midsummer Night’s Dream the orchestral scoring varies to fit the nature of each set of characters: “the bright. keyboards and percussion for the fairy world. but the critics did not...[57] date. A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1960) and Death in Venice (1973). in Death in Venice) is a direct inheritance from the older composer.[172] and only Puccini and Richard Strauss come ahead of him if the list is extended to all operas composed after 1900.”[171] Britten’s operas are firmly established in the international repertoire: according to Operabase.10 3 MUSIC guage a brilliance.[180] In addition to his own original operas. to chamber operas for performance by small touring opera ensembles or in churches and schools.[57] Music critics have frequently commented on the recurring theme in Britten’s operas from Peter Grimes onward of the isolated individual at odds with a hostile society. Billy Budd (1951).”[179] The early operetta Paul Bunyan stands apart from Britten’s later operatic works.[176] Another recurrent theme is the corruption of innocence. Of the remaining operas.[170] 3.[167] Britten later wrote of how the scoring of this work impressed him: ". in particular Das Lied von der Erde.[166] Among the closest of Britten’s kindred composer spirits – even more so than Purcell – was Mahler. freedom and vitality that have been curiously rare since the death of Purcell”. glittering sounds of tuned percussion to emphasize their remoteness. highly sophisticated orchestral accompaniments. as far as the modern British – perhaps not only British – field goes. that music should be so beautiful”.[39] He soon discovered other Mahler works. At that time Mahler’s music was little regarded and rarely played in English concert halls.[173] written for full-strength opera companies. written for television. warm strings and wind for the pairs of lovers. for example. who was then neglected. particularly gamelan sounds but also eastern harmonies. together with Imogen Holst. Albert Herring (1947). two years after its broadcast premiere. Britten. in the England of the 1930s. as he introduced elements of atonalism – though remaining essentially a tonal composer – and of eastern music. Philip Brett. The Little Sweep (1949) and The Turn of the Screw (1954) were written for small opera companies.[57] The American public liked it. the incorporation by Britten of popular tunes (as. you know. calls it “a patronizing attempt by W H Auden to evoke the spirit of a nation not his own in which Britten was a somewhat dazzled accomplice”. Gloriana (1953). was first presented live by the Royal Opera at Covent Garden in 1973. These “realisations” brought Purcell. with such rhythmic and harmonic tension from beginning to end”. they are performed worldwide more than those of any other composer born in the 20th century. the material was remarkable.2 Operas The Britten-Pears Foundation considers the composer’s operas “perhaps the most substantial and important part of his compositional legacy. In the large-scale category are Peter Grimes (1945). but have themselves been neglected since the dominance of the trend to authentic performance practice. most sharply seen in The Turn of the Screw. entirely clean and transparent ..[168][n 14] Apart from Mahler’s general influence on Britten’s compositional style. and the melodic shapes highly original. in Grove's article on Britten. 1971 Britten’s subsequent operas range from large-scale works . of Britten”.[n 15] and it fell into neglect until interest revived near the end of the com.[178] In Death in Venice Britten turns Tadzio and his family into silent dancers. Owen Wingrave. compared his contribution to that of Mozart in the 18th century: “Mozart may in some respects be regarded as a founder (a 'second founder') of opera. The same can already be said today.[177] Over the 28 years between Peter Grimes and Death in Venice Britten’s musical style changed. Noye’s Fludde (1958). whose Fourth Symphony Britten heard in September 1930.

Brett comments that though the work is much influenced by Wagner on the one hand and French mannerisms on the other. for voice and harp. Though Britten described the cycle as “not important stuff.[117] One of the best-known works in which tenor and piano.tersperses the Latin requiem mass.3. Horn and Strings (1943) sets verses by a variety of poets. In 1928. This presents all its poems in a continuous stream of music.”[57] A Pushkin cycle. Britten wrote the cycle as “his dec. At the a conventional 19th-century song cycle.[77] Nocturne (1958) is the last of the orchestral cycles.[184] It too finds the sensuality chorus. though in its structure it resembles poet Wilfred Owen. It inin Matthews’s phrase. A Birthday Hansel (1976). held together by the most superficial but most effective. he composed an orchestral cycle. but quite pleasant.settings.Owen’s “Strange meeting” mingles with the In paradisum cause here each song is self-contained. Britten’s technique in this cycle ranges from atonality in the first song to firm tonality later.[57] After he came under Auden’s influence Britten composed Our Hunting Fathers (1936).[57] Matthews judges the piece the crowning mas. Keats. who here include Shakespeare. As in the Serenade.guage make him. and shows a more robust and extrovert side of the composer.[57] inally soprano. and together with Peter Grimes it established him as one of the leading composers of his day. Owen and Verlaine (1969). in 1948 the critic Colin Mason lamented its neglect and called it one of Britten’s greatest works. sung by soprano and laration of love for Peter”. Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo (1942) for of English”. be. setting words by Arthur Rimbaud.of the mass. Shelley. After he could no longer The first of Britten’s song cycles to gain widespread pop. Britten set poetry was the War Requiem (1962).[183] The Serenade for Tenor. is among the grimmest of Britten’s cycles. I think”. setting 12 verses by William Soutar. all on the theme of nighttime.4 Other vocal works baud’s poems. Britten’s music reflects the eroticism in Rim. some of it mood-painting. Tennyson and Wilfred the piano. The work has never been popular.[28] Mason calls it “a beautifully unified work on utterly dissimilar poems. The Poet’s Echo (1965).for poetry (not only English) and the inflexions of lanterpiece of Britten’s early years. Coleridge. setting words by Victor Hugo and Paul Verlaine. Britten set words by a range of poets. Copland commented of the section “Antique” that he did not know how Britten dared to write the Nicholas Maw said of Britten’s vocal music: “His feeling melody.[28] Who Are These Children? Blake.[184] By the time of Brit. In Mason’s view the cycle is “as exciting as Les Illuminations.[57] The whole cycle is darker in tone than the Serenade. Brett writes that it “interleaves a ritornello-like setting of the seven proverbs with seven songs that paint an increasingly sombre picture of human existence. was written for Galina Vishnevskaya. be not proud”.3. Some of the music is pure word-painting. it draws atmospherically on the polyphony Poets whose words Britten set included (clockwise from top l) of south-east Asian music. I think. with pre-echoes of the War Requiem.[186] All the songs have subtly different orchestrations.”[185] Two years later.[57] Though written ostensibly in the tradition of European song cycles. composed for the baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. Matthews describes the conclusion of the . with a resolute B major chord at the climax of “Death.[186] Among Britten’s later song cycles with piano accompaniment is the Songs and Proverbs of William Blake. Rimbaud. Mason draws a end the two elements are combined. for high voice (orig. and therefore most suitable symphonic method. the greatest musical realizer ten’s next cycle.4 Other vocal works 3. Quatre chansons françaises. later more often sung by tenors)[n 16] with string orchestra accompaniment. as the last line of distinction between this and Britten’s earlier cycles. Britten composed The Holy Sonnets of John Donne. when he was 14. “the diatonic nursery-like tune for the sad boy with the consumptive mother in 'L'enfance' is entirely characteristic”. with settings of works by the First World War of the verses it sets.3 Song cycles Throughout his career Britten was drawn to the song cycle form. and has no the. Britten composed a cycle of Robert Burns ularity was Les Illuminations (1940). with a prominent obbligato part for a different instrument in each.”[183] 11 matic connection with any of the others. Pears had become his partner and muse. after witnessing the horrors of Belsen. a work whose bleakness was not matched until his final tenor and piano cycle a quarter of a century later. it was immediately greeted as a masterpiece. ostensibly a protest against foxhunting but which also alludes allegorically to the contemporary political state of Europe. sung by tenor and baritone. and offers many interesting and enjoyable foretastes of the best moments of his later works. of the subtlest kind.

because of the scope.[190] The second Canticle was written in 1952.5 Orchestral works ations.[206] The Piano Concerto (1938) was at first criticised for being too light-hearted and virtuoso.[192] [n 17] “Canticle III” from 1954 is a setting of Edith Sitwell’s wartime poem “Still Falls the Rain”. adapted by Britten from the full score of Peter Grimes. the piece ends with an exuberant fugal finale. “Sunday Morning”.[57] and the concertante Cello Symphony (1963) is an attempt to balance the traditional concerto and symphony. .”[203][n 18] Unlike his English predecessors such as Elgar and Vaughan Williams. gives the work more depth.”[208] Neither concerto is among Britten’s most popular works.”[28] Maw said of Britten. but of his mature works his Spring Symphony (1949) is more a song cycle than a true symphony. the Four Sea Interludes (1945) and The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra (1945).. premiered in 1971 is based on T. stature. and its similar ebbing away into the sea that symbolises both reconciliation and death.”[202] David Matthews calls it “a brilliant educational exercise. that is free of foreboding. composed between 1947 and 1974.[190] and according to Britten was modelled on Purcell’s Divine Hymns.[201] The Young Person’s Guide.[191] Matthews describes it as one of the composer’s most serene works. “Moonlight” and “Storm”. and composers from mainland Europe whom he admired. Britten was not a classical symphonist. specifically non-vocal genres. His orchestration has an individuality. the character of the music is strongly contrasted between “Dawn”. “He is one of the 20th century’s great orchestral composers .[199] The Sinfonia moves from an opening Lacrymosa filled with fear and lamentation to a fierce Dies Irae and then to a final Requiem aeternam. showcases the orchestra’s individual sections and groups. replacing a skittish third movement with a more sombre passacaglia that.[207] The Violin Concerto (1940) has virtuoso elements. on the theme of Abraham's obedience to Divine Authority in the proffered sacrifice of his son Isaac. “undoubtedly reflecting Britten’s growing concern with the escalation of world hostilities. but they are balanced by lyrical and elegiac passages.12 3 MUSIC work as “a great wave of benediction [which] recalls the end of the Sinfonia da Requiem. “It is easy. for a composer conscious of his own sickness”. Eliot's poem “Journey of the Magi”..[183] The Sea Interludes. and gained widespread popularity from the outset.[208] The Britten scholar Donald Mitchell has written. film and radio. and makes the apparent triumph of the finale more ambivalent. make a concert suite depicting the sea and the Borough in which the opera is set. During its four movements the Cello Symphony moves from a deeply pessimistic opening to a finale of radiant happiness rare for Britten by this point. and a Mahlerian funeral march. observing sonata form and the traditional four-movement pattern. but in the 21st century the Violin Concerto has been performed more frequently than before. his juvenile poem “Death of Saint Narcissus”.[205] The composer considered it “the finest thing I've written”.. between Billy Budd and Gloriana.[195] The final Canticle was another Eliot setting.[200] Mason considers the Sinfonia a failure: “less entertaining than usual..”[187] Other works for voices and orchestra include the Missa Brevis and the Cantata academica (both 1959) on religious themes. and sheer volume of the operas. and the wealth of vocal music of all kinds. because its object is not principally to entertain but to express symphonically. counter-tenor or alto in II and IV and baritone in IV) and accompaniments (piano in I to IV. The commentator Howard Posner observes that there is not a bar in the interludes. composed just after The Turn of the Screw with which it is structurally and stylistically associated. It fails because it is neither picturesquely nor formally symphonic”.[196] the musicologist Arnold Whittall finds the text “almost frighteningly apt . both in the concert hall and on record. based on a theme by Purcell.”[117] Among Britten’s best-known orchestral works are the Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge (1937).[202][203] Christopher Headington calls the work “exuberant and uncomplicated music. an affectionate tribute to Britten’s teacher.[188] Smaller-scale works for accompanied voice include the five Canticles. horn in III and harp in V). The twelve-note cycle in the first five bars of the piano part of the Canticle introduced a feature that became thereafter a regular part of Britten’s compositional technique. His youthful jeux d'esprit the Simple Symphony (1934) is in conventional symphonic structure. no matter how beautiful. Although Britten had little idea of what the poem was about.[189] The first is a setting of Francis Quarles's 17th century poem “A Divine Rapture”. They are written for a variety of voices (tenor in all five. reflecting the rise of militarism in Europe. S. incisiveness and integration with the musical material only achieved by the greatest composers. Matthews refers to it as a “companion piece” to the earlier work.[197] Matthews sees Narcissus as “another figure from [Britten’s] magic world of dreams and ideal beauty”. In 1945 Britten revised it. in Matthews’s view.[194] The fourth Canticle. the Sinfonia da Requiem (1940). It is musically close to The Burning Fiery Furnace of 1966. scored with clarity and vigour [that] fits well into Britten’s oeuvre.Britten’s incidental music for theatre. including Mahler and Shostakovich. and the late cantata Phaedra (1975). a story of fated love and death modelled on Handel's Italian cantatas. The Vari.[198] 3. which “ends in a mood of untroubled happiness that would soon become rare in Britten’s music”. described by the critic Herbert Glass as “the most uneasy 'eternal rest' possible”. range from comic parodies of Italian operatic clichés and Viennese waltzes to a strutting march. to pay insufficient attention to the many works Britten wrote in other.

with an “incredible” technical mastery. atonality and most forms of musical modernism and brought in neo-Romanticism.[n 19] a belief Tippett dismisses as ridiculous.[221] Brett believes that he affected every subsequent British composer to some extent: “He is a key figure in the growth of British musical culture in the second half of the 20th century.[221] In the decade after Britten’s death.[222] The film-maker Tony Palmer.7 Legacy Britten’s fellow-composers had divided views about him. his standing as a composer in Britain was to some extent overshadowed by that of the still-living Tippett. who was closely associated with Britten in the latter part of the Snape Maltings concert hall.7 Legacy 13 much of it unpublished. says Brett. founded by Britten. solves “the modern sonata problem – the achievement of symmetry and unity within an extended ternary circle based on more than one subject”.[211] while Foreman observes that Britten “appears to have made passing allusions to The Rescue in his final opera.[215] For Osian Ellis.”[210] Mann finds in this score preechoes of the second act of Billy Budd. Keller writes of the ease with which Britten. huge abyss in his soul . possessed of . Pears and Crozier composer’s career.. and his effect on everything from opera to the revitalization of music education is hard to overestimate. Brett describes him as “inimitable. The Rescue. from a student work in 1928 to his Third String Quartet (1975). a main venue of the Aldeburgh Festival.”[57] Whittall believes that one reason for Britten’s enduring popularity is the “progressive conservatism” of his music. were based on a theme of Zoltán Kodály and written as a virtuoso piece for the 13year-old Jeney twins. He got into the valley of the shadow of death and couldn't get out”.6 Chamber and instrumental works Britten’s close friendship with Rostropovich inspired the Cello Sonata (1961) and three suites for solo cello (1964– 71).[225] .”[214] The Gemini Variations (1965). is praised by the musicologist Lewis Foreman as “of such stature and individual character as to be worth a regular place alongside [Britten’s] other dramatic scores. Death in Venice.. In any event this was a shortlived phenomenon.[209] Of these pieces the music for a radio play. one with interesting allusions to Bartók and Shostakovich. in the words of Oliver Knussen. was written in homage to Purcell..[57] Britten defined his mission as a composer in very simple terms: composers should aim at “pleasing people today as seriously as we can”. “the tide that swept away serialism. published in 1952 in the first detailed critical assessment of Britten’s music to that date. musical prodigies whom Britten had met in Budapest in the previous year. inspired by jealousy at Britten’s postwar successes.[217] some contemporaries.[57] Nevertheless. however. Keller likens the innovatory skill of the Quartet to that of Walton's Viola Concerto.[216] 3. Tippett adherents such as the composer Robert Saxton soon rediscovered their enthusiasm for Britten.[213] The third Quartet was Britten’s last major work. In Tippett’s view Walton and others were convinced that Britten and Pears were leaders of a homosexual conspiracy in music.[220] The tenor Robert Tear. The second Quartet.[223] thought that Tippett’s temporary ascendancy might have been a question of the two composers’ contrasting personalities: Tippett had more warmth and had made fewer enemies.[210] 3. violin and piano duet. and did not challenge the conventions in the way that contemporaries such as Tippett did. the critic Colin Anderson said of it in 2007.3. was the subject of an essay by William Mann.[219] Leonard Bernstein considered Britten “a man at odds with the world”. for flute. relatively early in his compositional career. after his death Britten was lauded by the younger generation of English composers to whom.[221] Britten has had few imitators. whose audience steadily increased during the final years of the 20th century. He generally avoided the avant garde. by Edward Sackville-West. were less effusive. not just listen to it superficially. a voice and sound too dangerous to imitate”.[224] Perhaps. and said of his music: "[I]f you hear it. from 1945. made a similar point: “There was a great. Britten wrote the Suite for Harp (1969). which Joan Chissell in The Times described as “a little masterpiece of concentrated fancy”. he became “a phenomenal father-figure”.[185] Referring to this work. minimalism and other modes of expression involved with tonality carried with it renewed interest in composers who had been out of step with the times”. you become aware of something very dark”. “one of Britten’s greatest achievements. Mason considered it Britten’s most important instrumental work to that date. To Tippett he was “simply the most musical person I have ever met”.[212] String quartets featured throughout Britten’s composing career.. and written with an economy that opens out a depth of emotion that can be quite chilling. director of a 1979 TV documentary about Britten.

and the following day. like Elgar and Walton before him. In May 1944 he conducted the Prize (1961). Britten had intensely da Requiem (1964) Curlew River (1965). The Burning Fiery Furnace and Brahms seldom featured in his repertory. Mozart and Schubert.[227][n 20] Britten’s recital partnership with Pears with Britten came the following year. which has frequently been reissued. for the basic reason that it did not seem rations that we were trying to make records or video tapes. followed.[234] As a conduc. though a reluctant conductor and a nervous pi. the Spring Symlos. by numerous stereophonic versions of his works.[229] The composers whose works. A Midsumadmired Brahms. “The happiest hours I have spent in any studio were with Ben.[242] Commander of the Royal accompanying Sophie Wyss in five of his arrangements of Order of the Polar Star (Sweden) in 1962. Haydn. Warner and NMC. His awards included the Hanseatic Goethe and Mazurka elegiaca. Culshaw and his successors for Britten recordings. Mozart. Billy Budd (1967) and many of the other ma[229] In 2013. Schumann’s Dichterliebe. and occasional less characteristic choices including Schumann's Scenes from Goethe’s Faust. Holst. and songs by Haydn.on CD. anist.[n 23] and performed a considerable proportion of his output on disc. the . among recordings of many of his operas and vocal and orchestral others. James Bowman and John Shirley-Quirk. David Webster rated it highly enough to offer him the “Benjamin Britten – Complete Works”. awards and commemoshaw wrote. Cantata 151. never been out of the catalogues since nied Kathleen[n 25] Most of the musical directorship of the Covent Garden Opera in 1952.[123] He received honorary degrees and fellowfolk songs. Tippett and Richard Rodney Bennett.[229] Cul6 Honours. he most often played were Mozart and Schubert. the Order of French folk songs. Rostropovich and Vishnevskaya.”[238][n 24] State honours awarded to Britten included Companion of In May 1943 Britten made his debut in the Decca studios. he was not confident of his recordings were from Decca’s back catalogue. Britten made many recordings for Decca. Virgin Classics.[240] the latter. supervised greatest accompanist in the world. my services are not by Culshaw.[229][235] 5 Recordings As a pianist and conductor in other composers’ music. ten’s birth. Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius and Mozart’s last two symphonies.[229] Other soloists whom Britten accompanied on record were Ferrier. including the Nocturne (1959). the Aspen Award. in duet with Curzon ships from 19 conservatories and universities in Europe he recorded his Introduction and Rondo alla burlesca and America. in Murray Perahia's view. with the enthusiastic support of the Decca producer John Culshaw. Rostropovich. other than his thereafter Decca unstintingly made resources available to own. at 2013. Dennis Brain and Pears in Royal Philharmonic Society's Gold Medal (1964). Honour (Britain) in 1953. Ireland. the Sinfonia idol. in Britten’s arrangements of British July 1976. and chamber music with the Amadeus sold in unexpectedly large numbers for a classical set. Bach’s Brandenburg concertos. AWARDS AND COMMEMORATIONS Pianist and conductor the first recording of the Serenade for Tenor. most recently [229] Britten. was his best-known collaboration. and jor works.[243] and a life peerage (Britain) in recorded together.[229] Britten. we were just trying to make music.which has. The following January he and Pears Merit (Britain) in 1965. to mark the anniversary of BritSingers and players admired Britten’s conducting. Among his best-known Decca recordings are Purcell’s The Fairy-Queen. mer Night’s Dream (1966). was signed up by a major British recording company.[229] From 1958 Britten conducted Decca Dieskau.[229] Decca’s first major commercial success needed”.[229] Though usually too nervous to play piano so. Dietrich Fischer. made in January 1955 with the original English about playing at all the main music festivals except for Opera Group forces. was Britten’s greatest Sets followed of Albert Herring (1964). Decca released a set of 65 CDs and one DVD. Cantata 102 and St John Passion. but his admiration waned to nothing.14 4 6 HONOURS.[230] As a boy and young man. As a conductor he recorded a wide range of composers.its first release. In 1957 he conducted The Prince Aldeburgh. Horn and Strings. Colorado (1964). was greatly sought after in both capacities. Bach. Britten’s repertory included Purcell. the Boyd Neel string orchestra. For the Decca Record Company he made some monaural records in the 1940s and 1950s. EMI.[n 22] Britten declined. Among his studio collaborations with Pears are sets of Schubert’s Winterreise and Die schöne Müllerin. and Quartet. because “as the presiding genius there is the of the Pagodas in an early stereo recording. from Purcell to Grainger.[226] The Britten’s first operatic recording was The Turn of the piano accompanist Gerald Moore wrote in his memoirs Screw. Britten often performed piano duets with Clifford phony (1960) and the War Requiem (1963). but he also accompa. Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius and Introduction and Allegro.[229] The last Curzon or Richter. with Peter Grimes.[n 21] (1967). Holst's Egdon Heath and short pieces by Percy Grainger. but in the ability as a conductor and was reluctant to spend too much interests of comprehensiveness a substantial number of time performing rather than composing.tracks were licensed from 20 other companies including [241] tor. Bridge. Naxos.

45a St John’s Wood High Street.[245] In September 2012. is now the home of the Britten-Pears Founda.[251] In April 2013 Brit. Opera productions inA memorial stone to Britten was unveiled in the north cluded Owen Wingrave at Aldeburgh. and surely unrepeatable Was (1979) and Nocturne (2013). the Britten-Pears Foundation launched “Britlived and worked together from 1957 until Britten’s death ten 100”. established to promote their musical legacy. film.[256] Among the events were the release of Britten’s centenary year his studio at the Red House was a feature film Benjamin Britten – Peace and Conflict. the BRIT Awards 1977 – Best Orchestral Album of the past 25 years.[249] There are debourne. The converted hayloft was designed and built Royal Mint issued a 50-pence piece. and the Ravel Prize (1974).North.[259] Janet Baker officially opened the Britten-Pears archive in Centenary performances of the War Requiem were given a new building in the grounds of the Red House.[250] in Venice and A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Opera and 8 Halliford Street in Islington.[244] Walton composed Improvisations on an Impromptu of Benjamin Britten.[257] restored to the way it was in the 1950s and opened to and a centenary exhibition at the British Library. as one at Aldeburgh. academia tion. Death 173 Cromwell Road. the anniversary was marked by perfor- .6. and Peter Grimes.[248] at eighteen locations in Britain. the Mahler Medal (Bruckner and Mahler Society of America. The edge of the shell is pierced with the words “I hear those voices that will not be drowned” from Peter Grimes.[258] The the public.1 Centenary Fame Award 1998. to mark the centeby H T Cadbury Brown in 1958 and was described by nary – the first time a composer has featured on a British Britten as a “magnificent work”.”[262] Other creative artists have celebrated Britten. set while Britten is composing Death in Venice and centred on a fictional meeting between Britten and Auden. Britten was played in the premiere production by Alex Jennings. memorial plaques to him at three of his London homes: Gloriana by The Royal Opera. broadcasting.Guildhall School of Music and Drama. based on a theme from Britten’s Piano Concerto. 137 Cromwell Road blue plaque Sibelius Prize (1965).1 Centenary 15 Scallop by Maggi Hambling is a sculpture dedicated to Benjamin Britten on the beach at Aldeburgh.[255] Prizes for individual works included UNESCO's International Rostrum of Composers 1961 (for A Midsummer Night’s Dream). where Britten and Pears centenary. Death in Venice by English National Opera. with Steuart Bedford conducting and singers commemorative postage stamp issue. to mark the composer’s forthcoming The Red House in Aldeburgh.[260] Peter Grimes was performed on the beach ten was honoured by the Royal Mail in the UK. and for the War Requiem Grammy Awards 1963 – Classical Album of the Year.[261] described by ten: Benjamin Britten & his Festival (1967). Billy Budd at Glynchoir aisle of Westminster Abbey in 1978. she composed the work to mark Britten’s centenary. opening the 2013 Aldeburgh Festival in of ten people selected as subjects for the “Great Britons” June 2013. the Ernst von Siemens Prize (1974). 1967).[254] Alan Bennett depicts Britten in a 2009 play The Habit of Art. publishing. Best Classical Composition by a Contemporary Composer and Best Classical Performance – Choral (Other than Opera). based on the second Sea Interlude from Peter Grimes.[252] from the Chorus of Opera North and the Chorus of the Tony Palmer made three documentary films about Brit.[223] achievement.performing arts.[253] Works commemorating Britten include Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten an orchestral piece written in 1977 by Arvo Pärt. a collaboration of leading organisations in the in 1976. 1968).[246] In and heritage. A Time There The Guardian as “a remarkable. the Léonie Sonning Music Prize (Denmark.[247] In June 2013 Dame coin. and the Grammy Hall of 6. and Sally Beamish's Variations on a Theme of Benjamin Britten. In 1970 Internationally.

It was not repealed until the passage of the Sexual Offences Act 1967 [11] Some writers have supposed that Britten was earlier offered and had declined a knighthood. 1909–89). the Metropolitan Opera and Los Angeles Opera. The opera’s first performance under Koussevitzky’s aegis was at the Tanglewood Music Festival in 1947. in which Section 11 made any kind of sexual activity between men illegal for the first time. though he thought the performance “execrable”. Sir Jack Westrup.”[32] In his later years. Robert Harry Marsh (“Bobby”. a romantic self-indulgent. In other words. conducted by the young Leonard Bernstein. confessing: “I am terribly sorry to leave such boys as these. he was not original. and the rest).[90] Those who. Britten attended what was only the second British performance of Mahler’s Eighth Symphony. allowing Britten and his Sadler’s Wells associates the chance to do so. “I'm still thirteen”. 1907–87).”[96] [10] The principal law against homosexual acts was the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885.. His style is free from excessive personal mannerisms. with Sir Henry Wood and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. given in Tanglewood in 1990.[67] Bernstein retained a love of the work. or he could only score like Wagner. Bridcut views this as manifest both in the Letts diaries Britten bought and used well into his adult life.[125] [12] The writer John Bridcut sees significance in evidence that Britten mentally regarded himself as perpetually 13 years old..”[36] [5] Britten later wrote about his youthful discovery of Mahler that he had been told that the composer was “long-winded and formless .[3] [2] Britten later gave an example of the detailed skill instilled in him by Bridge: “I came up with a series of major sevenths on the violin. both to avoid covering up criminal behaviour and to avoid oversimplifying the complexity of Britten’s sexuality and creativity. “His influence on contemporary writing . Either he couldn't score at all. to the effect that Britten was to be distrusted for his “superficial effects”. nothing being left to chance and every note sounding. references and sources Notes [1] Britten’s siblings were (Edith) Barbara (1902–82). saying that the instrument didn't vibrate properly with this interval: it should be divided between two instruments”.. as against so much contemporary music ('no tunes – ugly. and he conducted the orchestral “Sea Interludes” from the opera at his final concert. London. it is important that allegations of paedophilia be openly discussed. were not known for teaching included Delius[91] and Walton. REFERENCES AND SOURCES mances of the War Requiem. the Sadler’s Wells opera company toured the British provinces.[184] . Peter Grimes and other works in four continents.. Puffett quoted remarks by the Professor of Music at Oxford in the 1960s. a musical set in England. are beneath consideration. could only be beneficial. and Gloriana was not well received at its first hearing.[174] [16] Matthews comments that the work is “so much more sensuous when sung by the soprano voice for which the songs were conceived”.[169] [15] The critics’ outrage at the presumption of Auden and Britten in writing an American work mirrored the hostile response of London critics six years earlier when Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein presented Three Sisters. the “Symphony of a Thousand”. discordant sounds’. Britten helped secure a place at the school for David Hemmings.[71] [8] Sullivan. Britten found it a wrench. and his scores are models of how the modern virtuoso orchestra should be used. Parry.[27] [3] When it came to leaving Gresham’s. In 1994 the critic Derrick Puffett wrote that in the 1960s Britten was still regarded with suspicion on account of his technical expertise.[124] but his name is not included in the official list issued in 2012 by the Cabinet Office naming everyone (except those still living at the time of publication) who had declined an honour between 1950 and 1999.” with a Britten festival at Carnegie Hall. Stanford. In the US the centennial events were described as “coast to coast. who was so infatuated with his ideas that he could never stop.] I didn't think I should be so sorry to leave. Above all. using enormous orchestras with so much going on that you couldn't hear anything clearly.16 7 NOTES. like Britten. and (Charlotte) Elizabeth (“Beth”.[150] [14] In 1938. on the contrary. and performances at the New York Philharmonic. On the other hand.[145] [13] The journalist Martin Kettle wrote in 2012 that although there is no evidence of wrongful conduct. was requisitioned by the government in 1942 as a refuge for people made homeless by air-raids.[92] [9] The critic Andrew Porter wrote at the time: “The audience naturally contained many people distinguished in political and social spheres rather than noted for their appreciation of twentieth-century music.[144] and in his remark to Imogen Holst.. Holst and Tippett were among the leading British composers of their time who held posts at conservatoires or universities. returning to its home base in June 1945. [.[68] [7] Sadler’s Wells Theatre in Islington. Elgar. The usual philistine charges brought against it. shortly before his death. Bridge was against this. whereas Tippett was considered “awkward and technically unskilled but somehow authentic.[32] [4] This academic mistrust of Britten’s technical skills persisted. in which he wrote several statistics relevant to himself when that age.. Britten declared himself “tremendously impressed” by the music.[263] 7 Notes. nothing for a young student!" Britten judged.”[39] [6] Koussevitzky’s generosity later extended to waiving his rights to mount the first production. those who found Gloriana ill-suited to the occasion may be allowed to have some right on their side. Vaughan Williams.

pp. p. “Britten. Modernism on Sea: Art and Culture at the British Seaside. p. 7 [38] Carpenter. p. pp. Autumn 1966. No 78. 3 [35] Carpenter. 25. 3 [18] The piece is formally sub-titled “Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Henry Purcell". According to Haltrecht. 8-9. Albion: A Quarterly Journal Concerned with British Studies. and Powell pp. Matthews. and Powell. 4 and 7. accessed 3 September 2013 [24] Carpenter.[228] [19] Carpenter. 2 [16] Carpenter pp. 2 [33] Matthews. 1 [32] Bridcut (2006): p. p. 6–7 [15] White. Hugo. p. p. Tempo. p.[193] [10] Matthews. p. 16 [31] Matthews. Britten. p. The set includes Britten’s folksong arrangements. Oxford University Press. Covent Garden and other precious musical heritages could suffer irreparable harm. recounts that no formal offer of the post was made to Britten. Alexandra Harris eds. Montague Haltrecht. 23 [30] Bridcut (2006): p. No 2. p. p. 3 [8] Carpenter. 40 . p.[233] [23] Elgar was an exclusive HMV artist. 17 [28] Mitchell. p. p. p. p. Baron Britten (1913–1976)".[237] [20] Carpenter. p. “Review – Britten”. but Webster believed that it was above all as a composer that Britten could bring glory to Covent Garden. but excludes his Purcell realisations. 16 [14] Carpenter. p. p. made most of his recordings for Columbia. 14 [3] Evans (2009). 25 [19] Steuart Wilson. January 2011. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. online edition. a retired singer who held a succession of posts as a musical administrator. reproduced in Britten (1991). 16 [24] Imogen Holst remembered Britten’s recording sessions differently: “He used to find recording sessions more exhausting than anything else. 8 and 13 [17] Powell. launched an outspoken campaign in 1955 against “homosexuality in British music” and was quoted as saying: “The influence of perverts in the world of music has grown beyond all measure. 395–396 (subscription required) [6] Blyth. Retrieved 12 May 2103 (subscription or UK public library membership required) [29] Carpenter. Volume 26. 13 [22] David Matthews. 17 [2] Kennedy. 36 [7] Kildea.[241] References [27] Quoted in Carpenter. and dreaded the days when he had to stop writing a new opera in order to record the one before last. pp. p. and Matthews. Donald. p. 5 [18] Carpenter. 2004. 513 [34] Craggs. 8 [26] Carpenter. pp. 2. p. it’s good Brahms I can't stand”. “Benjamin Britten: A Biography by Humphrey Carpenter”. pp.[236] Walton. 4. p. p. p. p. an opinion with which Britten apparently concurred. p.”[239] [25] The set comprises all the composer’s works with opus numbers and all works commercially recorded by 2013 (many fragments and juvenilia have not been published or recorded). Benjamin. p.17 [17] The piece was much admired by Tippett as “one of the wonderful things in Britten’s music”. Kildea. “It’s not bad Brahms I mind. 4 [4] Powell. 9 [22] So writes John Bridcut. Lord Harewood and other Covent Garden board members wanted Britten for the post. 11 [1] Matthews. pp. 4. (Edward) Benjamin. pp.[204] [12] Blyth. New Series. 10–11 [36] Puffett. pp. Summer 1994.[232] but Webster’s biographer. 13–14 [25] Matthews.”[218] [11] Carpenter. If it is not curbed soon. 18 and Oliver. p. Britten greatly disliked the BBC’s practice of referring to the work by the grander sub-title in preference to his preferred title. accessed 3 September 2013 [23] Lara Feigel. 35 [5] Carpenter.[231] [21] Britten. 31–32 (subscription required) [9] Powell. Notes to Decca LP LW 5162 (1956). after a brief spell with Decca. 8–9 [20] In 2006 Gramophone magazine invited eminent presentday accompanists to name their “professional’s professional": the joint winners were Britten and Moore. 10 [21] Britten once said. 6 [13] Blyth. 4–5 [37] Cole. Derrick. p.

105. 87–88 [59] Headington (1993). xvi–xviii. 91–92 [60] Evans (1979). The Guardian. H. “Britten. “Sadler’s Wells Opera – 'Peter Grimes’". Philip. p. Grove Music Online. 40 [83] Carpenter. 34 [48] White. pp. 5 [56] Robinson. The Times. 127. Suzanne. pp. Philip. David. accessed 12 May 2013 (subscription required) [85] Headington (1993). August 1998. Songs of the West. Tempo. and Clarke. (Elgar). Anne. p. pp. Graebe. accessed 24 May 2013 [51] Matthews. pp. 5–41 (Vaughan Williams and Holst). 281–282 (subscription required) [65] Carpenter. “English Opera Group”. 184 [70] Matthews. 66 [77] Matthews. p. pp. William. Journal of the Royal Musical Association. Journal of American Studies. American Music. 151 [87] Matthews. pp. 79 [40] White. pp. 62–63 [73] See. p. 16 October 1990 [89] Mason. p. p. pp. p. The New York Times. pp. 112 [82] Hope-Wallace.4. pp. pp. Tempo. Martin. The Musical Times. Volume 15. Philip. 236–282 (Sullivan. p. 6. 217 [43] Carpenter. and Glock. 31 [63] Kennedy. March 1915. p. Hugh. “Opera at Glyndebourne”. The Guardian. 8 [90] Wright. 3. Oxford University Press. Opera Volume 64. p. Volume 130 No. [45] Kennedy. p. Sir Michael". p. 80 [78] Carpenter. “Britten in the Theatre: A Provisional Catalogue”. No 2. Eric Walter. p. “On Behalf of Gustav Mahler”. 148 and 166 [76] Gilbert. Colin. p. “Benjamin Britten’s 'Dream'". Volume 10. pp.1 .18 7 NOTES. Folk Music Journal. “Tippett. p. “The Last Days of Leonard Bernstein”. pp. and Carpenter. accessed 24 May 2013 [91] Heseltine.17 [75] Blyth. 11 June 1960. John. No 107. 243 [55] Matthews. p. p. 48 and 53 [72] Gilbert. 38 [80] “Instruments of the Orchestra”. “Gustav Holst. 46 [84] Wood. Oxford University Press. 15 July 1946. December 1973. 137–142 (subscription required) . 149–150. p. 2011. 10 June 1945. 14–15. All (subscription required). REFERENCES AND SOURCES [39] Britten. 150–151 [66] White. Benjamin”. p. 130 [53] Carpenter. McVeagh. New Series. pp. and Paul Bunyan”. Auden. p. April 2013. 15–16 [71] Gilbert pp. 98–99 [62] Kennedy. p. p. The Manchester Guardian. pp. Oxford University Press. Benjamin Britten. Oxford Music Online. The Times. Grove Music Online. No 3 (Autumn 1997). 436–438 [58] Headington (1993). 79 [46] Carpenter. p. David. 2 [44] Powell. pp. Edward. 78. p. 104. 1939–42”. 242–243 [54] Matthews. 80–81 [50] Powell. p. p. Benjamin. 89 [86] Headington (1993). p. Volume 32. “Elgar. p. p. pp. for example. 2. The Observer. 321–351 [57] Brett. “Some Notes on Delius and His Music”. p. “Music”. 228 and Matthews. p. 213. British Film Institute. 18 June 1973. Grove Music Online. 57 [61] Headington (1993). “W. pp. Parry and Stanford). pp. March 1977. pp. “Festival Overtures: Britten in Bloom”. 35 [67] Powell. “Britten’s Death in Venice”. et al. Diana. pp. 107 [47] Matthews. New Series. (subscription required) [69] Matthews. 8 June 1945. “An English Composer Sees America: Benjamin Britten and the North American Press. 81 [52] Powell. Edward”. 98 [42] Oliver. p. and the English Folk Song Movement”. 12 July 1947. and Greenfield. p. 5. pp. p. 92–93 [88] Hall. George. “The South Kensington Music Schools and the Development of the British Conservatoire in the Late Nineteenth Century”. 216 and 256 [64] Brogan. No 120. 252 [68] Rockwell. and Matthews. and Matthews. 2–10 [49] Matthews. 80 [79] Matthews. 83 and 98 [41] Carpenter. 92 [74] Banks. 38–39 [81] Matthews.

Eric. “Britten’s Television Opera”. and Begbie and Guthrie. “William Walton (1902–1983). p. Britten”. 4 (October 1953). 277 [103] Carpenter. accessed 25 May 2013 Fine Press Book Association. 239–240 [131] Headington (1993). p. 151 [146] Bridcut (2006). Martin. 34. and Church. 113 [135] Carpenter. The Times. Snape”. [111] Matthews. BBC. 192–193 [134] Carpenter. p. p. “Britten’s Billy Budd". 77. Pieces from Henry V (1944)". William. Edward. p. 114 [107] Carpenter. p. March 1977. Andrew. “It was boy1967. The Guardian. 11 March 1977.[119] Piper. 9295. Music & Letters. p. 96 [114] Ray. p. 155 Guardian. p. Britten’s Gloriana. William. p. p. Philip. Two [117] Maxwell Davies.19 [92] Kirkbride. 7 ishness Britten loved as much as boys”. p. pp. 15 September 1954. “Inaugural [137] Carpenter. pp. 127 [145] Bridcut (2006). 6 June 1970. p. Jo. p. 2–6 (subscription required) [93] “Ballets de Paris de Roland Petit – 'Le Rêve de Léonor'". p. p. The Independent 21 June 2013 [127] Kennedy. 3 . 384–385 (Mackerras) and 444–445 [112] Carpenter. p. Rupert. “Shostakovich special”. p. [101] “Operas. p. 6 July 1976. 124 (Harewood). p. and Porter. No. “Government forced to release list of rejected honours”. 277–287 (subscription [123] required) [124] [97] Matthews. 486 [108] Mann. The Manchester Guardian. 15 [140] Kildea. Colin. The Times. 46954. [120] Graham. 22 October 1966. p. No. Volume 33. Scottish Chamber Orches“Benjamin Britten: Tributes and Memories”. p. accessed 27 May 2013 [102] Weeks. pp. 3 December 1951. Nicholas Maw and others. 26 January 2012. 143 Michael. 139 [113] Matthews. “Gloriana at Sadler’s Wells”. 7. and Keates. accessed 24 May 2013. pp. OM. 11 June 2006 [109] Greenfield. p. Peter. 434–435 and 478–480 [136] Carpenter. “Reynolds Stone: A Centenary Tribute”. New tra. 1539. p. 154 Welcome for 'The Turn of the Screw'". and List of honours refused. 3 Times. p. pp. 111–118 [122] [96] Porter. “Britten’s New Opera at Venice Festival: [128] Matthews. 2. 1–2 [115] Matthews. The Observer. Tempo. p. p. p. 15 cember 1951. p. 214 (subscription required) [95] Blom. 596 The London Gazette: no. 202 June 1970. 10 [141] Carpenter. Powell. 114 [100] Mason. 441 [133] Ford. 206 Letters. 482 [142] Blyth. Andrew. 334 [132] “Memorial service: Lord Britten. 5 [130] Powers. 20 [104] Carpenter. Volume 112. 3–4. pp. accessed 24 May 2013 Series. Music & [121] Oliver. May 1971. 124–125 and 127 [143] Matthews. 3 June 1967. Cabinet Office. 335 [105] Britten (2008). CH”. Alan. p. 55 5. pp. 6. p. “Gloriana: Britten’s problem opera”. p. [118] Evans. p. No. Peter. 388 [106] Britten (2008). 1 [139] Carpenter. 302 [110] Mann. 2 De. No. p. Operabase. 27 April 1949. January 2012 [99] Christiansen. p. p. The Times. p. p. Jonathan. The Guardian. 654 Concert at the Maltings. Vol. April 1952. p. 8 [116] Blyth. pp. pp. p. and Greenfield. The Guardian. pp. p. The Daily Telegraph 18 June 2013. Hope-Wallace. p. p. The Sunday Telegraph. “Britten’s 'Billy Budd'". “Queen at new Maltings concert”. “Richard Jones’s revelatory ROH revival of Britten’s underrated Gloriana”. The Manchester [129] Matthews. 107 [125] [98] Greenfield. [126] Headington (1996). Edward. “Britten’s Billy Budd". 425–428 [94] Carpenter. 6 Carpenter. 3 June [138] Matthews. 120. pp. “Queen opens concert hall”. 458 Rosenbaum. 155 [144] Bridcut (2006). Edward. The Musical The Times.

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Michael (1996). British Composers in Interview. • Steinberg. • Powell. originally as Aldeburgh Festival: the living legacy of Britten’s vision for a festival and creative campus) • Britten material in the BBC Radio 3 archives • Gresham College: “Britten and Bridge”. ISBN 1871569087. Baron Britten (1913–1976). performance schedules • Faber Music (Publisher set up by Britten for his works after 1963): biography. Woodbridge: Boydell Press. Benjamin Britten (1913– 1976). • Ray. • Piper. ISBN 030435676X. OCLC 460298065. Michael (1998). Benjamin Britten: His Life and Operas. 109 portraits. London: Herbert Press. lecture and performance investigating the relation between the two composers. Britten Project • Boosey & Hawkes (Britten’s publishers up to 1963): biographies. Sex. ISBN 0712660593. “Writing for Britten”. ISBN 0195061772. London: Pimlico Books. Murray (1963). Jeffrey (1989). Britten: A Life for Music. • Schafer. Benjamin Britten. London: Phaidon Press. London: Faber and Faber. work lists. Arnold (1982). Politics and Society. The Operas of Benjamin Britten. The Symphony – A Listener’s Guide. • Oliver. by Rob Barnett • National Portrait Gallery. • White. ISBN 184383314X. work lists and descriptions. ISBN 0520016793. The operas of Benjamin Britten – Expression and Evasion. Neil (2013). audio or video file) • Britten Thematic Catalogue. recordings. New York: Boosey & Hawkes. London: Hutchinson. ISBN 0582483336. The Music of Britten and Tippett. Benjamin Britten. ISBN 0714832774. performance schedules • MusicWeb International. London: Longman. Harmondsworth: Penguin. Those Twentieth Century Blues. recordings. The Night Blitz: 1940–1941. Am I Too Loud? – Memoirs of an Accompanist. Myfanwy (1989) [1979]. . London: Cassell. ISBN 0091931231. Michael (1994). 5 February 2008 (available for download as text. In David Herbert. • Tippett. • Seymour. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 8 External links • Britten-Pears Foundation • Britten 100 (Britten-Pears Foundation’s website for the Britten centenary) • Aldeburgh Music (The organisation founded by Benjamin Britten in 1948. Claire Karen (2007).23 • Moore. • Whittall. ISBN 0521235235. John (2000). Gerald (1974) [1962]. • Weeks. ISBN 0140024808. Eric Walker (1954). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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