Benjamin Britten

Biography

Born: 1913   Died: 1976   Country: England   Period: 20th Century
With the arrival of Benjamin Britten on the international music scene, many felt that English music gained its greatest genius since Purcell. A composer of wide-ranging talents, Britten found in the human voice an especial source of inspiration, an affinity that resulted in a remarkable body of work, ranging from operas like Peter Grimes (1944-1945) and Death in Venice (1973) to song cycles like the Serenade for tenor, horn, and strings (1943) to Read more the massive choral work War Requiem (1961). He also produced much music for orchestra and chamber ensembles, including symphonies, concerti, and chamber and solo works. Britten's father was a prosperous oral surgeon in the town of Lowestoft, Suffolk; his mother was a leader in the local choral society. When Benjamin's musical aptitude became evident, the family engaged composer Frank Bridge to supervise his musical education. Bridge's tutelage was one of the formative and lasting influences on Britten's compositional development; Britten eventually paid tribute to his teacher in his Op. 10, the Variations on a Theme by Frank Bridge (1937). Britten's formal training also included studies at the Royal College of Music (1930-1933).

Upon graduation from the RCM, Britten obtained a position scoring documentaries (on prosaic themes like "Sorting Office") for the Royal Post Office film unit. Working on a tight budget, he learned how to extract the maximum variety of color and musical effectiveness from the smallest combinations of instruments, producing dozens of such scores from 1935 to 1938. He rapidly emerged as the most promising British composer of his generation and entered into collaborative relationships that exerted a profound influence upon his creative life. Among the most important of his professional associates were literary figures like W.H. Auden, and later, E.M. Forster. None, however, played as central a role in Britten's life as the tenor Peter Pears, who was Britten's closest intimate, both personally and professionally, from the late '30s to the composer's death. Pears' voice inspired a number of Britten's vocal cycles and opera roles, and the two often joined forces in song recitals and, from 1948, in the organization and administration of the Aldeburgh Festival.

A steadfast pacifist, Britten left England in 1939 as war loomed over Europe. He spent four years in the United States and Canada, his compositional pace barely slackening, as evidenced by the production of works like the Sinfonia da Requiem (1940), the song cycle Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo (1940), and his first effort for the stage, Paul Bunyan (1940-1941). Eventually, the poetry of George Crabbe drew Britten back to England. With a Koussevitzky Commission backing him, the composer wrote the enormously successful opera Peter Grimes (1944-45), which marked the greatest turning point in his career. His fame secure, Britten over the next several decades wrote a dozen more operas, several of which -- Albert Herring (1947), Billy Budd (1951), The Turn of the Screw (1954), A Midsummer Night's Dream (1960), Death in Venice (1973) -- became instant and permanent fixtures of the repertoire. He also continued to produce much vocal, orchestral, and chamber music, including Songs and Proverbs of William Blake (1965), the three Cello Suites (1961-1964) and the Cello Symphony (1963), written for Mstislav Rostropovich, and the Third String Quartet (1975).

Britten suffered a stroke during heart surgery in 1971, which resulted in something of a slowdown in his creative activities. Nonetheless, he continued to compose until his death in 1976, by which time he was recognized as one of the principal musical figures of the twentieth century. Read less

Biography

Born: 1913   Died: 1976   Country: England   Period: 20th Century
With the arrival of Benjamin Britten on the international music scene, many felt that English music gained its greatest genius since Purcell. A composer of wide-ranging talents, Britten found in the human voice an especial source of inspiration, an affinity that resulted in a remarkable body of work, ranging from operas like Peter Grimes (1944-1945) and Death in Venice (1973) to song cycles like the Serenade for tenor, horn, and strings (1943) to Read more
WORKS ALBUMS
TITLE/COMPOSER
LABEL
Schubert: Sonata for Arpeggione and Piano in A minor, D.821 - 1. Allegro moderato
Schubert: Sonata for Arpeggione and Piano in A minor, D.821 - 2. Adagio
Schubert: Sonata for Arpeggione and Piano in A minor, D.821 - 3. Allegretto
Schumann: 5 Stücke im Volkston, Op.102 - 1. Vanitas vanitatum (Mit Humor)
Schumann: 5 Stücke im Volkston, Op.102 - 2. Langsam
Schumann: 5 Stücke im Volkston, Op.102 - 3. Nicht schnell, mit viel Ton zu spielen
Schumann: 5 Stücke im Volkston, Op.102 - 4. Nicht zu rasch
Schumann: 5 Stücke im Volkston, Op.102 - 5. Stark und markiert
Britten: Sonata in C for Cello and Piano Op.65 - 1. Dialogo
Britten: Sonata in C for Cello and Piano Op.65 - 2. Scherzo - pizzicato
Britten: Sonata in C for Cello and Piano Op.65 - 3. Elegia
Britten: Sonata in C for Cello and Piano Op.65 - 4. Marcia
Britten: Sonata in C for Cello and Piano Op.65 - 5. Moto perpetuo
Debussy: Sonata for Cello and Piano in D minor, L.135 - 1. Prologue (lent)
Debussy: Sonata for Cello and Piano in D minor, L.135 - 2. Sérénade (Modérément animé)
Debussy: Sonata for Cello and Piano in D minor, L.135 - 3. Finale (Animé)
Britten: Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo, Op.22 - Sonetto XVI
Britten: Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo, Op.22 - Sonetto XXXI
Britten: Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo, Op.22 - Sonetto XXX
Britten: Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo, Op.22 - Sonetto LV
Britten: Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo, Op.22 - Sonetto XXXVIII
Britten: Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo, Op.22 - Sonetto XXXII
Britten: Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo, Op.22 - Sonetto XXIV
Britten: The Holy Sonnets of John Donne, Op.35 - 1. Oh, My Blacke Soule!
Britten: The Holy Sonnets of John Donne, Op.35 - 2. Batter My Heart
Britten: The Holy Sonnets of John Donne, Op.35 - 3. Oh Might Those Sighes and Teares
Britten: The Holy Sonnets of John Donne, Op.35 - 4. Oh, To Vex Me
Britten: The Holy Sonnets of John Donne, Op.35 - 5. What If This Present
Britten: The Holy Sonnets of John Donne, Op.35 - 6. Since She Whom I Loved
Britten: The Holy Sonnets of John Donne, Op.35 - 7. At the Round Earth's Imagined Corners
Britten: The Holy Sonnets of John Donne, Op.35 - 8. Thou Hast Made Me
Britten: The Holy Sonnets of John Donne, Op.35 - 9. Death, Be Not Proud
Vaughan Williams: On Wenlock Edge - On Wenlock Edge
Vaughan Williams: On Wenlock Edge - From Far, From Eve And Morning
Vaughan Williams: On Wenlock Edge - Is My Team Ploughing?
Vaughan Williams: On Wenlock Edge - Oh, When I Was In Love With You
Vaughan Williams: On Wenlock Edge - Bredon Hill
Vaughan Williams: On Wenlock Edge - Clun
Tippett: Songs for Ariel - Come Unto These Yellow Sands
Tippett: Songs for Ariel - Full Fathom Five
Tippett: Songs for Ariel - Where The Bee Sucks
Ireland: The Land of Lost Content - The Lent Lily
Ireland: The Land of Lost Content - Ladslove
Ireland: The Land of Lost Content - Goal & Wicket
Ireland: The Land of Lost Content - The Vain Desire
Ireland: The Land of Lost Content - The Encounter
Ireland: The Land of Lost Content - Epilogue
Britten: Sonata in C for Cello and Piano Op.65 - 1. Dialogo
Britten: Sonata in C for Cello and Piano Op.65 - 2. Scherzo - pizzicato
Britten: Sonata in C for Cello and Piano Op.65 - 3. Elegia
Britten: Sonata in C for Cello and Piano Op.65 - 4. Marcia
Britten: Sonata in C for Cello and Piano Op.65 - 5. Moto perpetuo
1. Allegro moderato
2. Adagio
3. Allegretto
1. Vanitas vanitatum (Mit Humor)
2. Langsam
3. Nicht schnell, mit viel Ton zu spielen
4. Nicht zu rasch
5. Stark und markiert
1. Prologue (lent)
2. Sérénade (Modérément animé)
3. Finale (Animé)
Britten: The Golden Vanity - "There Was a Ship Came From the North Country"
Britten: The Golden Vanity - "Then Up Spake the Cabin-Boy"
Britten: The Golden Vanity - "Casting His Clothes Off, He Dived Into the Sea"
Britten: The Golden Vanity - "They Laid Him On the Deck"
I. Pemoengkah
II. Gambangan
III. Taboeh teloe
1. Prologue (lent)
2. Sérénade (Modérément animé)
3. Finale (Animé)
1. Allegro molto moderato -
2. Largo
3. Allegro vivace
4. Tempo I
Tema
Variation 1
Variation 2
Variation 3
Variation 4
Variation 5
Variation 6
Variation 7
Variation 8
1. Allegro moderato
2. Andante
3. Scherzo & Trio - Allegro vivace
4. Allegro vivace
1. Allegro moderato
2. Adagio
3. Allegretto
1. Vanitas vanitatum (Mit Humor)
2. Langsam
3. Nicht schnell, mit viel Ton zu spielen
4. Nicht zu rasch
5. Stark und markiert
1. Prologue (lent)
2. Sérénade (Modérément animé)
3. Finale (Animé)
1. Allegro moderato
3. Allegretto
"There Was a Ship Came From the North Country"
"Then Up Spake the Cabin-Boy"
"Casting His Clothes Off, He Dived Into the Sea"
"They Laid Him On the Deck"
1. Allegro
2. Andante
3. Allegretto
1. Allegro con spirito
2. Andante
3. Allegro molto
Thema
Variation 1
Variation 2
Variation 3
Variation 4
1. Avec emportement
2. Lent. Sombre
3. Scherzando


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