Edward Benjamin Britten
(22 Nov. 1913 - 4 Dec. 1976)
Once upon a time there was a prep-school boy. He was called Britten, his initials were E.B., his age was nine, and his locker was number seventeen. He was quite an ordinary little boy; he took his snake-belt to bed with him; he loved cricket, only quite liked football (although he kicked a pretty ‘corner’); he adored mathematics, got on all right with history, was scared by Latin Unseen; he behaved fairly well, only ragged the recognised amount, so that his contacts with the cane were happily rare (although one nocturnal expedition to stalk ghosts left its marks behind); he worked his way up the school slowly and steadily, until at the age of thirteen he reached that pinnacle of importance and grandeur never to be quite equaled in later days: the head of the Sixth, head-prefect, and Victor Ludorum.
But—there was one curious thing about this boy: he wrote music.
- Britten’s liner notes to the 1955 Decca recording of his Simple Symphony
Composer: Benjamin Britten (1913 - 1976)
Work: Sea Interlude - Sunday Morning (Allegro spiritoso) from Peter Grimes (1945)
Performer: Boston Symphony Orchestra; conducted by Leonard Bernstein
Well, the vote is in—and you’ve selected Sergei Rachmaninoff as the leading tone's featured composer in the month of July. Join us on Sunday, 8 July for an all-day tribute in which we'll hear some old favorites as well as a few works most are less likely to have encountered.
There was also enthusiastic support for the wonderful Benjamin Britten—the margin was just a handful of votes, though there were no hanging chads—so we’ll be visiting Britten’s music from time to time throughout the month, starting later today. Bayreuther says you should go check out Moonrise Kingdom—how did I not yet know about a new Wes Anderson film with an Alexandre Desplat/Benjamin Britten soundtrack? Off to the movies it is.
Thanks for your nominations and votes, and thanks for following!
"Composing is like driving down a foggy road toward a house. Slowly you see more details of the house—the color of the slates and bricks, the shape of the windows. The notes are the bricks and the mortar of the house."