503 plays

Britten, arr.
"The Holly and the Ivy"

Choir of King’s College Cambridge

13 December 2013 ·

21 November 2013 ·

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

21 November 2013 ·

Britten
Piano Concerto, Op. 13
IV. March

Benjamin Grosvenor
National Youth Orchestra of Britain

21 November 2013 ·

389 plays

Britten
Rejoice in the Lamb, Op. 30
II. “For I will consider my cat Jeoffrey”

Michael Hartnett, treble
George Malcolm, organ
Benjamin Britten, cond.

(Mia Nilsson)

21 November 2013 ·

sillywhatwell:

Left - Benjamin Britten in his studio The Red House in Aldeburgh.
Right - The Red House studio as it is today.
Pristine!  It’s as if he never left…  Read about the restoration here

sillywhatwell:

Left - Benjamin Britten in his studio The Red House in Aldeburgh.

Right - The Red House studio as it is today.

Pristine!  It’s as if he never left…  Read about the restoration here

8 November 2013 ·

629 plays

dailyclassicalmusic:

Composer: Benjamin Britten (1913 - 1976)

Work: Sea Interlude - Sunday Morning (Allegro spiritoso) from Peter Grimes (1945)

Performer: Boston Symphony Orchestra; conducted by Leonard Bernstein

(via tierradentro)

14 August 2013 ·

399 plays

Britten
Noye’s Fludde, Op. 59
"The spacious firmament on high
(after Thomas Tallis)

English Chamber Orchestra
East Suffolk Children’s Chorus
Norman Del Mar
1958

from the motion picture soundtrack to Moonrise Kingdom

11 August 2013 ·

Britten: the great hater?

Michael Kennedy delves into the “dark side” of Britten in this, his centenary year, revealing behind the gorgeous music and affable façade a tightly wound, neurotic figure who seldom missed an opportunity to trash past masters and contemporaries alike, yet habitually shredded and returned the letters of criticism which found their way to his desk. 

No composer was so often the target of Britten’s scorn as was Johannes Brahms, of whom Britten once said, “I play over the entirety of Brahms at intervals to see if he was really that bad, only to discover that he was much worse.” A strong reaction against Romantic classicism and Brahms’ autumnal philosophic posturing is understandable from an artist of Britten’s starkly colorful, clear, and almost astringent ideal—but, taste aside, could he really have failed to recognize the craftsmanship of Brahms, and of Beethoven, too, whom he also roundly disparaged? 

The point is not to poke holes in Benjamin Britten, but to recognize his complexity and idiosyncrasies as a genius and as a human being. This article is an interesting read, for sure. 

(I mistakenly posted a link to an alternate article by Charlotte Higgins before editing, sorry! Here’s that one. Another good read on much the same subject.)

1 August 2013 ·

Sketches for Britten’s Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra. 2013 marks the centenary of the British composer’s birth.
(source: UK Dept. of Culture, Ministry, and Sport)

Sketches for Britten’s Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra. 2013 marks the centenary of the British composer’s birth.

(source: UK Dept. of Culture, Ministry, and Sport)

16 July 2013 ·

529 plays

Benjamin Britten rehearsing Requiem aeternam from the War RequiemLondon Symphony Orch. & Chorus, 1963.

(He sounds surprisingly like Stewie from Family Guy, not gonna lie…)

15 April 2013 ·

Benjamin Britten, Aaron Copland, and Peter Pears.New York, 1939. 

Benjamin Britten, Aaron Copland, and Peter Pears.
New York, 1939. 

(Source: Flickr / desingel)

22 November 2012 ·

Britten
Rondo concertante for piano and strings (1930)

Rolf Hind, piano
Northern Sinfonia
Thomas Zehetmair 

22 November 2012 ·

27

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! 

30 June 2012 ·

"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."

~

Benjamin Britten

2 April 2012 ·

Curtis Lindsay
Pianist, composer,
expert in nonsense.



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