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
Mozart: Piano Concerto No.12 in A, K.414 - 1. Allegro
Mozart: Piano Concerto No.12 in A, K.414 - 2. Andante
Mozart: Piano Concerto No.12 in A, K.414 - 3. Rondeau (Allegretto)
Mozart: Sonata for Piano duet in C, K.521 - 1. Allegro
Mozart: Sonata for Piano duet in C, K.521 - 2. Andante
Mozart: Sonata for Piano duet in C, K.521 - 3. Allegretto
Mozart: Sonata for 2 pianos in D, K.448 - 1. Allegro con spirito
Mozart: Sonata for 2 pianos in D, K.448 - 2. Andante
Mozart: Sonata for 2 pianos in D, K.448 - 3. Allegro molto
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
Schubert: Divertissement sur des motifs originaux français, in E minor, D.823 - Andantino varié - Thema
Schubert: Divertissement sur des motifs originaux français, in E minor, D.823 - Andantino varié - Variation 1
Schubert: Divertissement sur des motifs originaux français, in E minor, D.823 - Andantino varié - Variation 2
Schubert: Divertissement sur des motifs originaux français, in E minor, D.823 - Andantino varié - Variation 3
Schubert: Divertissement sur des motifs originaux français, in E minor, D.823 - Andantino varié - Variation 4
Debussy: En blanc et noir - for 2 pianos - 1. Avec emportement
Debussy: En blanc et noir - for 2 pianos - 2. Lent. Sombre
Debussy: En blanc et noir - for 2 pianos - 3. Scherzando
Schubert: Fantasy in F minor, D. 940 (Op.103) for piano duet - 1. Allegro molto moderato -
Schubert: Fantasy in F minor, D. 940 (Op.103) for piano duet - 2. Largo
Schubert: Fantasy in F minor, D. 940 (Op.103) for piano duet - 3. Allegro vivace
Schubert: Fantasy in F minor, D. 940 (Op.103) for piano duet - 4. Tempo I
Schubert: Variations on a original theme, in A flat, D.813 - Tema
Schubert: Variations on a original theme, in A flat, D.813 - Variation 1
Schubert: Variations on a original theme, in A flat, D.813 - Variation 2
Schubert: Variations on a original theme, in A flat, D.813 - Variation 3
Schubert: Variations on a original theme, in A flat, D.813 - Variation 4
Schubert: Variations on a original theme, in A flat, D.813 - Variation 5
Schubert: Variations on a original theme, in A flat, D.813 - Variation 6
Schubert: Variations on a original theme, in A flat, D.813 - Variation 7
Schubert: Variations on a original theme, in A flat, D.813 - Variation 8
Schubert: Grand Duo Sonata in C major, D.812 (Op. posth.140) - 1. Allegro moderato
Schubert: Grand Duo Sonata in C major, D.812 (Op. posth.140) - 2. Andante
Schubert: Grand Duo Sonata in C major, D.812 (Op. posth.140) - 3. Scherzo & Trio - Allegro vivace
Schubert: Grand Duo Sonata in C major, D.812 (Op. posth.140) - 4. Allegro vivace
Schubert: Winterreise, D.911 - 1. Gute Nacht
Schubert: Winterreise, D.911 - 2. Die Wetterfahne
Schubert: Winterreise, D.911 - 3. Gefrorne Tränen
Schubert: Winterreise, D.911 - 4. Erstarrung
Schubert: Winterreise, D.911 - 5. Der Lindenbaum
Schubert: Winterreise, D.911 - 6. Wasserflut
Schubert: Winterreise, D.911 - 7. Auf dem Flusse
Schubert: Winterreise, D.911 - 8. Rückblick
Schubert: Winterreise, D.911 - 9. Irrlicht
Schubert: Winterreise, D.911 - 10. Rast
Schubert: Winterreise, D.911 - 11. Frühlingstraum
Schubert: Winterreise, D.911 - 12. Einsamkeit
Schubert: Winterreise, D.911 - 13. Die Post
Schubert: Winterreise, D.911 - 14. Der greise Kopf
Schubert: Winterreise, D.911 - 15. Die Krähe
Schubert: Winterreise, D.911 - 16. Letzte Hoffnung
Schubert: Winterreise, D.911 - 17. Im Dorfe
Schubert: Winterreise, D.911 - 18. Der stürmische Morgen
Schubert: Winterreise, D.911 - 19. Täuschung
Schubert: Winterreise, D.911 - 20. Der Wegweiser
Schubert: Winterreise, D.911 - 21. Das Wirtshaus
Schubert: Winterreise, D.911 - 22. Mut
Schubert: Winterreise, D.911 - 23. Die Nebensonnen
Schubert: Winterreise, D.911 - 24. Der Leiermann
Schubert: Die schöne Müllerin, D.795 - 1. Das Wandern
Schubert: Die schöne Müllerin, D.795 - 2. Wohin?
Schubert: Die schöne Müllerin, D.795 - 3. Halt!
Schubert: Die schöne Müllerin, D.795 - 4. Danksagung an den Bach
Schubert: Die schöne Müllerin, D.795 - 5. Am Feierabend
Schubert: Die schöne Müllerin, D.795 - 6. Der Neugierige
Schubert: Die schöne Müllerin, D.795 - 7. Ungeduld
Schubert: Die schöne Müllerin, D.795 - 8. Morgengruß
Schubert: Die schöne Müllerin, D.795 - 9. Der Müllers Blumen
Schubert: Die schöne Müllerin, D.795 - 10. Tränenregen
Schubert: Die schöne Müllerin, D.795 - 11. Mein!
Schubert: Die schöne Müllerin, D.795 - 12. Pause
Schubert: Die schöne Müllerin, D.795 - 13. Mit dem grünen Lautenbande
Schubert: Die schöne Müllerin, D.795 - 14. Der Jäger
Schubert: Die schöne Müllerin, D.795 - 15. Eifersucht und Stolz
Schubert: Die schöne Müllerin, D.795 - 16. Die liebe Farbe
Schubert: Die schöne Müllerin, D.795 - 17. Die böse Farbe
Schubert: Die schöne Müllerin, D.795 - 18. Trockne Blumen
Schubert: Die schöne Müllerin, D.795 - 19. Der Müller und der Bach
Schubert: Die schöne Müllerin, D.795 - 20. Des Baches Wiegenlied
Schumann: Dichterliebe, Op.48 - 1. Im wunderschönen Monat Mai
Schumann: Dichterliebe, Op.48 - 2. Aus meinen Tränen sprießen
Schumann: Dichterliebe, Op.48 - 3. Die Rose, die Lilie, die Taube, die Sonne
Schumann: Dichterliebe, Op.48 - 4. Wenn ich in deine Augen seh'
Schumann: Dichterliebe, Op.48 - 5. Ich will meine Seele tauchen
Schumann: Dichterliebe, Op.48 - 6. Im Rhein, im heiligen Strome
Schumann: Dichterliebe, Op.48 - 7. Ich grolle nicht
Schumann: Dichterliebe, Op.48 - 8. Und wüßten's die Blumen, die kleinen
Schumann: Dichterliebe, Op.48 - 9. Das ist ein Flöten und Geigen
Schumann: Dichterliebe, Op.48 - 10. Hör' ich das Liedchen klingen
Schumann: Dichterliebe, Op.48 - 11. Ein Jüngling liebt ein Mädchen
Schumann: Dichterliebe, Op.48 - 12. Am leuchtenden Sommermorgen
Schumann: Dichterliebe, Op.48 - 13. Ich hab' im Traum geweinet
Schumann: Dichterliebe, Op.48 - 14. Allnächtlich im Traume seh' ich dich
Schumann: Dichterliebe, Op.48 - 15. Aus alten Märchen winkt es
Schumann: Dichterliebe, Op.48 - 16. Die alten, bösen Lieder
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
Shostakovich: Sonata for Cello and Piano, Op.40 - 1. Allegro non troppo
Shostakovich: Sonata for Cello and Piano, Op.40 - 2. Allegro
Shostakovich: Sonata for Cello and Piano, Op.40 - 3. Largo
Shostakovich: Sonata for Cello and Piano, Op.40 - 4. Allegro
Shostakovich: Seven Poems of Alexander Blok, Op.127 - 1. Ophelia's Song (Pesnya Ofelii)
Shostakovich: Seven Poems of Alexander Blok, Op.127 - 2. Hamayun, the Prophetic Bird (Gamayun, Ptitsa Veshchaya)
Shostakovich: Seven Poems of Alexander Blok, Op.127 - 3. We Were Together (My Byli Vmeste)
Shostakovich: Seven Poems of Alexander Blok, Op.127 - 4. The City Is Asleep (Gorod Spit)
Shostakovich: Seven Poems of Alexander Blok, Op.127 - 5. The Storm (Burya)
Shostakovich: Seven Poems of Alexander Blok, Op.127 - 6. Secret Signs (Tayniye Znaki)
Shostakovich: Seven Poems of Alexander Blok, Op.127 - 7. Music (Muzyka)
Janácek: Pohádka for cello & piano - 1. Con moto
Janácek: Pohádka for cello & piano - 2. Con moto
Janácek: Pohádka for cello & piano - 3. Allegro
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)
Grainger: The Pretty Maid Milkin' Her Cow...The Sprig O' Thyme
Grainger: The Pretty Maid Milkin' Her Cow...The Sprig O' Thyme
Holst: Humbert Wolfe Songs - Persephone
Holst: Humbert Wolfe Songs - Things Lovelier
Holst: Humbert Wolfe Songs - Now In These Fairylands
Holst: Humbert Wolfe Songs - A Little Music
Holst: Humbert Wolfe Songs - The Thought
Holst: Humbert Wolfe Songs - The Floral Bandit
Holst: Humbert Wolfe Songs - Envoi
Holst: Humbert Wolfe Songs - The Dream City
Holst: Humbert Wolfe Songs - Journey End
Holst: Humbert Wolfe Songs - In the Street Of Lost Time
Holst: Humbert Wolfe Songs - Rhyme
Holst: Humbert Wolfe Songs - Betelgeuse
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
Tippett: Songs for Ariel - Come Unto These Yellow Sands
Tippett: Songs for Ariel - Full Fathom Five
Tippett: Songs for Ariel - Where The Bee Sucks
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
Bridge: Sonata for cello & piano - 1. Allegro ben moderato
Bridge: Sonata for cello & piano - 2. Allegro ma non troppo - Molto allegro e agitato
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: Six Hölderlin Fragments, Op.61 - 1. Menschenbeifall
Britten: Six Hölderlin Fragments, Op.61 - 2. Die Heimat
Britten: Six Hölderlin Fragments, Op.61 - 3. Sokrates und Alcibiades
Britten: Six Hölderlin Fragments, Op.61 - 4. Die Jugend
Britten: Six Hölderlin Fragments, Op.61 - 5. Hälfte des Lebens
Britten: Six Hölderlin Fragments, Op.61 - 6. Die Linien des Lebens
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


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