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At the war's end, Britten founded the English Opera Group, and soon his career was blossoming, particularly in opera.

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Pears in the leading role. The composer, who had been ill, was unable to attend the New York premiere of his grim and foreboding work, which was disliked by some critics here and greeted as a masterpiece by others. In the 's, Britten's creative juices flowed strongly. Although all four works have been staged in secular surroundings, it is generally agreed that they have their deepest effect when given in churches.

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Britten's creative urge seemed to drive him in opposite but complementary directions. The church parables were efforts in this direction, and so was his decision in to give up what he considered the overly commercial music life of London to return to his native East Anglia. There, in the Suffolk coast town of Aldeburgh, he and Mr. Pears founded a music festival designed to prove that in the arts, less is frequently more. The composer and Mr.


Pears, both bachelors, moved to the Red House, a comfortable brick home nead Aldeburgh. In the nearby village of Snape, the Maltings, a concert hallopera house seating people was set up in a former malthouse. Britten, an excellent pianist and an effective conductor, often performed at these concerts, and his collaborations with Mr.

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Pears in lieder programs were regarded by many critics as significant events. The friends recorded together frequently and went on tour as a duo. The composer's fondness for Aldeburgh and its ideal of artistic intimacy seemed to reflect his distaste for the vulgar glare of publicity in metropolitan society.

Biography: Benjamin Britten

Although he was bluntly outspoken about music and musicians early in his career, Britten increasingly became taciturn and distant, except to friends. But he was a man of strong opinions, and he could express them strongly enough to infuriate almost everyone. In interviews, he assessed some of his predecessors none too gently:. Before Beethoven, music served things greater than itself.

For example, the glory of God, the greatest glory of all. Or the glory of the state.

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Or the composer's social environment. After Beethoven the composer became the center of his own universe. Hence the Romantic school. Britten, however, had his heroes. Mahler, Mozart and Verdi led the list, and he liked a lot of Stravinsky. As tributes to Benjamin Britten were offered yesterday from leaders of the music world, A. Webster, the general manager of the New York Philharmoniic announced that peformances of Shostakovich's 14th Symphony scheduled for the weekend and next week would be dedicated to the composer, who died yesterday in Britain.

With ever increasing popularity there came the need for a permanent home for the Festival and in , two years after malting had ceased, Aldeburgh Festival moved into its new home, Snape Maltings Concert Hall. Originally explored as a place to store opera scenery, the vision of Britten and his colleagues saw the largest of the malthouses as the perfect building to convert into a concert hall.

Disastrously, fire struck two years later in and the Concert Hall needed rebuilding, to be opened once again by the Queen on her second visit, in The Aldeburgh Festival continues to have education and artist development at its heart, with residencies and masterclasses ever present alongside international talent.

The opening of the Hoffmann Building in , home to the Britten Studio, provides further flexible performance and rehearsal spaces where artists come to develop their work.

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  • In his biography, serialised in the Telegraph in advance of publication, Kildea writes that as Britten exhausted himself on research for Death In Venice in , he said to his assistant: "First of all I've got to finish this one, then there's a big work, then an opera, and then I'll be ill. His tiredness and breathlessness were treated with drugs, Pears complained: "Ben is writing an evil opera, and it's killing him. Topics Classical music. Benjamin Britten.

    Benjamin Britten - Peter Grimes (1945)

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