Published on May 2nd, 2014 | by admin0
The Brilliant Benjamin Britten
It is easy to understand just why Benjamin Britten became the first composer to be appointed a life peerage after learning of the many wonderful landmark achievements the Suffolk-born musician enjoyed throughout his career.
Having nurtured his grasp of music at the Royal College of Music after composing in his childhood, with further guidance from the composer Frank Bridge, he was soon to produce his first composition entitled Op. 1, the Sinfonietta for chamber ensemble, and the Phantasy Quartet for oboe and string trio.
As World War Two broke, Benjamin Britten was already furthering his growing reputation in the United States before returning to Britain in 1942. He was excused from military service and instead spent his time producing further compositions including the opera Peter Grimes and the orchestral showpiece The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra which are widely regarded as two of his greatest moments.
Throughout the 1940’s and 1950’s Britten composed critically acclaimed, accomplished pieces of music including the operas The Rape of Lucretia, Albert Herring, Billy Budd, Gloriana and The Turn of the Screw.
During the 1960’s further notable pieces of music he produced included the War Requiem and a Cello Symphony for Rostropovich before his health started to deteoriate culminating in his death from congestive heart failure in 1976.
Amongst his many diverse musical talents as well as his passion as a composer was his brilliance as a conductor and also as a pianist which he once put into words: “It is cruel, you know, that music should be so beautiful. It has the beauty of loneliness and of pain: of strength and freedom. The beauty of disappointment and never-satisfied love. The cruel beauty of nature, and everlasting beauty of monotony.”
The impact that Britten made from a musical perspective was clearly demonstrated last year to mark his 100th birthday. On 22nd November 2013, more than 100,000 young people from around the world participated in musical performances. This was the widest global celebration of a British composer of all time.
His influence is also demonstrated in the modern era by the enduring popularity of the annual Aldeburgh Festival (renamed Aldeburgh Music) which Britten founded way back in 1948.
As well as remembering him through all his critically acclaimed music, a collectible 50p coin to mark the centenary of the birth of Britten was commissioned last year. It is apt that musician Tom Phillips CBE designed the coin which is still available for a limited period here at the Post Office Shop.
Without doubt Benjamin is clearly fondly remembered to this day as a Great Britten.