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Benjamin Britten

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(1913 – 1976)

Edward Benjamin Britten, Baron Britten of Aldeburgh, OM (1913–1976) was a British composer, conductor, and pianist.

Britten was born on 22nd November 1913 in Lowestoft in Suffolk, the son of a dentist and a talented amateur musician. He began composing prolifically as a child, and in 1927 began private lessons with Frank Bridge. He also studied, less happily, at the Royal College of Music under John Ireland and with some input from Ralph Vaughan Williams. Although ultimately held back by his parents (at the suggestion of College staff), Britten had also intended to study with Alban Berg in Vienna. His first compositions to attract wide attention were the Sinfonietta (op.1) and a set of choral variations “A Boy was Born”, written in 1934 for the BBC Singers. The following year he met W. H. Auden with whom he collaborated on the song-cycle “Our Hunting Fathers”, radical both in politics and musical treatment, and other works. Of more lasting importance was his meeting in 1936 with the tenor Peter Pears, who was to become his life-partner and musical collaborator. In early 1939 the two of them followed Auden to America. There Britten composed Paul Bunyan, his first opera (to a libretto by Auden), as well as the first of many song-cycles for Pears; the period was otherwise remarkable for a number of orchestral works, including Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge (for string orchestra) and Sinfonia da Requiem (for full orchestra).

Britten and Pears returned to England in 1942, Britten completing the choral works Hymn to Saint Cecilia (his last collaboration with Auden) and A Ceremony of Carols during the long sea voyage.

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  • lejk_ap_nijo

    Well, I didn't liked Moonrise Kingdom, but this movie introduced me to his music. So thanks.

    26 Mar 3:58pm Reply
  • MisterJunior

    Just got the Takacs Quartet album of his string quartets and it's every bit as wonderful as expected.

    4 Feb 2:39am Reply
  • saltyknuckles

    Featured on SaltyKnuckles ~ Classics №VII - http://classics.saltyknuckles.net/2013-52/

    10 Jan 10:02pm Reply
  • stupidstuff

    The Symphonic Suite from Gloriana is wonderful.

    10 Jan 12:22pm Reply
  • emptysituation

    my favourite pedophile composer. the four sea interludes are hella tight

    14 Dec 2013 Reply
  • midgie

    Just got the CD of Janine Jansen playing the violin concerto - perfect!

    27 Nov 2013 Reply
  • headey

    Here's a tour with a bit of Britten http://www.matthewbarley.com/wordpress/?page_id=962

    10 Oct 2013 Reply
  • oaquard

    been on last.fm since 2007 and the on tour jokes still haven't gotten old for me. i probably have a shit sense of humor.

    14 Jul 2013 Reply
  • tim4tw

    The "on tour"-jokes were funny... once upon a time

    7 Mar 2013 Reply
  • relax2music

    Peter Pears & Benjamin Britten discuss "Die Winterreise" - 1968 http://youtu.be/MFaH-Kb2HD0

    27 Feb 2013 Reply
  • Punk-Fiction

    @headey Just an added notion: the term 'modernism' often categorizes prominent art from the early twentieth century, which doesn't exactly fit into today's definition of the word 'modern.' I would assume that contemporary, when heavily extended, can come to classify any artist that was active while a member of the current population lived. Sort of the same as the "you're not dead until someone thinks of you for the very last time" sentiment. Interesting question though, for sure.

    4 Aug 2012 Reply
  • headey

    As he died in 1976 I don't tag him 'contemporary'. I save that for composers who are contemporary with me. Are the 'contemporary' taggers using a different definition to do with style maybe?? I don't quite understand. ~~~~~~~~~~~~ http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/contemporary

    1 Jul 2012 Reply
  • WasNotWhyNot

    HAHAHAH HE'S ON TOUR EXCEPT NOT BECAUSE HE'S DEAD

    11 Apr 2012 Reply
  • MusicHallofFame

    The Music Hall of Fame are delighted to induct Benjamin Britten into the Class of 1959. Congratulations. Please vist our page too see the latest inductees into the Music Hall of Fame

    16 Feb 2012 Reply
  • znienacka

    Good grief; how can anyone find "On tour" funny? What it mean is so obvious, yet just about every Shoutbox for dead composers has a string of people having hysterics about it. [3] -.-

    13 Feb 2012 Reply
  • trashcity_

    ON TOUR LMAO

    12 Jan 2012 Reply
  • posstmonka

    Good grief; how can anyone find "On tour" funny? What it mean is so obvious, yet just about every Shoutbox for dead composers has a string of people having hysterics about it. [2]

    6 Jan 2012 Reply
  • Grosseteste

    Good grief; how can anyone find "On tour" funny? What it mean is so obvious, yet just about every Shoutbox for dead composers has a string of people having hysterics about it.

    7 Dec 2011 Reply
  • swantonist

    on tour ahahHAHAHhaahhaha

    28 Nov 2011 Reply
  • ulyssestone

    Benjamin Britten: Complete Chronological Catalogue in One Spotify Playlist www.spotifyclassical.com/2011/11/benjamin-britten-complete-chronological.html (1071 tracks, 62 hours) Happy 98th birthday!

    22 Nov 2011 Reply
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