Category Archives: Context

Listening to Britten – What is a Canticle?

Antechapel window, Robinson College Chapel, Cambridge, 1978-80 by John Piper. (c) The Piper Estate As Listening to Britten approaches another important area of the composer’s output, I thought it would be useful to get some context on what constitutes a … Continue reading

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An introduction to Britten and the folksong – a new take on old music?

On The River Yare, Norfolk by Alfred Stannard. Photo (c) Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service (Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery) Listening to Britten is not long underway with the composer’s realizations of Purcell’s music, but now we approach another … Continue reading

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Purcell + Britten = ?

Purcell and Britten Listening To Britten is now well into the hundreds in terms of the number of pieces heard and experienced – but there are still several major aspects of Britten’s life and output yet to be revealed. We … Continue reading

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Setting The Scene – English music in 1930 as Britten goes to college

With Listening to Britten having reached the verge of the composer’s move to the Royal College of Music, it seems an appropriate time for Good Morning Britten to pan out a little and look afresh at the musical climate in … Continue reading

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Foundations – Britten and Frank Bridge

“If anything happened to my musical father, I don’t know what I should do”. The teenage Britten’s dependency on Frank Bridge, fully revealed in this quote from 1930, illustrating the extent to which his teacher was becoming his musical guiding … Continue reading

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Foundations – Britten and his musical dislikes

It is all well and good looking at a composer and his potential influences, but it is just as instructive to look at the other, possibly more negative side. With Britten, there is much information that tells us exactly who … Continue reading

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Foundations – Britten and John Ireland

“Either the boy is awarded a scholarship, or I resign”. The words of John Ireland, the first prominent composer to grasp the full musical potential of the young Benjamin Britten – who, in the event, did not have to relinquish … Continue reading

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