Category Archives: Foundations

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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Foundations – Britten and Elgar, Vaughan Williams and Holst

Gustav Holst To put it politely, Britten had a mixed relationship with the music of Elgar and Vaughan Williams. There are many dismissive quotes from him about the music of both – and indeed it could be said they were … Continue reading

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Foundations – Britten and Debussy

There is little evidence to suggest the music of Debussy had a lasting influence on the music of Britten, but four recordings exist that speak of Britten’s obvious affection and respect for the French composer. One of those recordings, a … Continue reading

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Foundations – Britten and Mahler

The Mahler revival reached England in the early 1960s – but Britten could with good reason claim to be 30 years ahead of that particular game. When the composer was far less fashionable in the 1930s, Britten spotted what many … Continue reading

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Foundations – Britten and Tchaikovsky

It may come as something of a surprise to think of Tchaikovsky as an influence on the music of Britten, especially when the big, Romantic gestures of the Piano Concerto no.1 and the Violin Concerto are considered. Where is their … Continue reading

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Foundations – Britten and Schumann

Britten’s admiration for Robert Schumann is not revealed in an explicit way – there are no immediately obvious quotes for instance – but the frequency with which he performed Schumann’s music indicates more than just respectability. There are parallels with … Continue reading

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Foundations – Britten and Schubert

In an article for the Guardian around his new series The Story of Music, Howard Goodall makes the very believable observation that Schubert invented the modern pop song. He presents a compelling argument, for although Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven were … Continue reading

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Foundations – Britten and Mozart

In 1952 the celebrated critic and musical theorist Hans Keller declared, ‘Mozart and Britten are the only two composers I know who strongly and widely attract people who do not understand them’. It is intriguing that such a perceptive figure … Continue reading

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