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Benjamin Britten (1913–1976): The Life Narratives of the Ever-Young “Working Composer”

Linda Hutcheon and Michael Hutcheon

in Four Last Songs: Aging and Creativity in Verdi, Strauss, Messiaen, and Britten

Published in print:
2015
Published Online:
January 2016
ISBN:
9780226255590
eISBN:
9780226255620
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:
10.7208/chicago/9780226255620.003.0006
Subject:
Music, History, Western

Britten completed his last opera, Death in Venice (1973), just before cardiac surgery during which he suffered a stroke. Not yet 60, he underwent many of the changes associated with extended aging: ... More


Britten's Parables

W. Anthony Sheppard

in Revealing Masks: Exotic Influences and Ritualized Performance in Modernist Music Theater

Published in print:
2001
Published Online:
May 2012
ISBN:
9780520223028
eISBN:
9780520924741
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:
10.1525/california/9780520223028.003.0009
Subject:
Music, Performing Practice/Studies

The phenomenon of domesticating the exotic is common to many examples of cross-cultural appropriation or (more neutrally) of influence in the twentieth century. Modernist Euro-American composers ... More


“O Hurry to the Fêted Spot of Your Deliberate Fall”: Death in Britten, 1936–1940

Stephen Arthur Allen

in Rethinking Britten

Published in print:
2013
Published Online:
September 2013
ISBN:
9780199794805
eISBN:
9780199345243
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199794805.003.0002
Subject:
Music, History, Western

This chapter examines three major concert works of Britten's early maturity. The Auden song cycle Our Hunting Fathers is the seminal work of 1936, the year of Britten's official break with the ... More


Britten and the Avant-Garde in the 1950s

Philip Rupprecht

in Rethinking Britten

Published in print:
2013
Published Online:
September 2013
ISBN:
9780199794805
eISBN:
9780199345243
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199794805.003.0007
Subject:
Music, History, Western

This chapter explores Britten's ambivalent but productive awareness of mid-century modishness of style and technique, notably the fetishizing of twelve-tone serialism associated with Darmstadt ... More


Peter Grimes: The Development of a Hero (1986)

Willard Spiegelman

in Imaginative Transcripts: Selected Literary Essays

Published in print:
2008
Published Online:
October 2011
ISBN:
9780195368130
eISBN:
9780199852192
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195368130.003.0005
Subject:
Literature, Poetry

This chapter criticizes English composer Benjamin Britten's opera Peter Grimes. It examines how audiences viewed and partly misunderstood the character of Peter Grimes and discusses the problems ... More


Animating Owen Wingrave: Ghosts and Global Television

Danielle Ward-Griffin

in Rethinking Britten

Published in print:
2013
Published Online:
September 2013
ISBN:
9780199794805
eISBN:
9780199345243
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199794805.003.0011
Subject:
Music, History, Western

This chapter explores the television opera Owen Wingrave, which premiered on 16 May 1971 as a BBC-filmed production broadcast simultaneously across Europe and the United States. Britten's interest in ... More


Curlew River and Cultural Encounter

Heather Wiebe

in Rethinking Britten

Published in print:
2013
Published Online:
September 2013
ISBN:
9780199794805
eISBN:
9780199345243
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199794805.003.0008
Subject:
Music, History, Western

This chapter shows that Britten's four-month tour of Asia in the winter of 1955–56 was the scene of his engagement with cultural traditions he found exotic. It suggests that Curlew River is a ... More


An Excess of Less?: Britten’s Music of the Late 1960s

Christopher Mark

in Rethinking Britten

Published in print:
2013
Published Online:
September 2013
ISBN:
9780199794805
eISBN:
9780199345243
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199794805.003.0010
Subject:
Music, History, Western

This chapter focuses on Britten's music of the late 1960s. In the Songs and Proverbs of William Blake (1965), short phrases generate agitation (in “London”) and fragile textures draw out the ... More


On Ambiguity in Britten

Paul Kildea

in Rethinking Britten

Published in print:
2013
Published Online:
September 2013
ISBN:
9780199794805
eISBN:
9780199345243
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199794805.003.0001
Subject:
Music, History, Western

This chapter examines the conflict between disclosure and concealment common to Britten's life and his art. Britten's development of an operatic technique coincided precisely with his personal ... More


Be Flat or Be Natural?: Pitch Symbolism in Britten’s Operas

Mervyn Cooke

in Rethinking Britten

Published in print:
2013
Published Online:
September 2013
ISBN:
9780199794805
eISBN:
9780199345243
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199794805.003.0006
Subject:
Music, History, Western

This chapter examines the symbolic dimension in Britten's pitch language. It demonstrates that Britten's much-reported adult delight in “childish” puns stands behind a deeper tonal and dramatic ... More


Peter Grimes and the “Tuneful Air”

Arved Ashby

in Rethinking Britten

Published in print:
2013
Published Online:
September 2013
ISBN:
9780199794805
eISBN:
9780199345243
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199794805.003.0004
Subject:
Music, History, Western

This chapter explores the “paradox” and “difference” of text setting in Peter Grimes. It argues that any of Britten's incongruities of textual-vocal manner in the 1940s are in fact remnants of ... More


Britten’s Rhetoric of Resistance: The Works for Rostropovich

Arnold Whittall

in Rethinking Britten

Published in print:
2013
Published Online:
September 2013
ISBN:
9780199794805
eISBN:
9780199345243
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199794805.003.0009
Subject:
Music, History, Western

This chapter explores the five scores composed (between 1961 and 1971) for the Russian cellist Mstislav Rostropovich—and the Pushkin songs, The Poet's Echo—as documents suggestively bound by the ... More


Britten and Grimes

Philip Brett

in Music and Sexuality in Britten: Selected Essays

Published in print:
2006
Published Online:
May 2012
ISBN:
9780520246096
eISBN:
9780520939127
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:
10.1525/california/9780520246096.003.0002
Subject:
Music, History, Western

Leaving England for America at the commencement of the war, Benjamin Britten eventually returned to his homeland, realizing the essence of an artists' being in the vicinity of his roots. This chapter ... More


The Dye-line Rehearsal Scores for Death in Venice

Christopher Wintle

in Rethinking Britten

Published in print:
2013
Published Online:
September 2013
ISBN:
9780199794805
eISBN:
9780199345243
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199794805.003.0012
Subject:
Music, History, Western

This chapter demonstrates the sheer intensity of Britten's creative process as he completed his last opera in a state of declining health. The dye-line scores document closely how composer and singer ... More


Utopia

Eric Saylor

in English Pastoral Music: From Arcadia to Utopia, 1900-1955

Published in print:
2017
Published Online:
January 2018
ISBN:
9780252041099
eISBN:
9780252099656
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:
10.5406/illinois/9780252041099.003.0006
Subject:
Music, History, Western

Pastoralism can take on utopian contexts as well as Arcadian ones, imagining a potentially brighter future rather than an idealized and fictitious past. While traditional metaphors of Christ as the ... More


Music Theater in Northern Europe

Eric Salzman and Thomas Desi

in The New Music Theater: Seeing the Voice, Hearing the Body

Published in print:
2008
Published Online:
January 2010
ISBN:
9780195099362
eISBN:
9780199864737
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195099362.003.0016
Subject:
Music, Opera

This chapter discusses the work of British composers including Benjamin Britten, Peter Maxwell Davies, Harrison Birtwistle, Cornelius Cardew, Gavin Bryars, Michael Nyman, Mark-Anthony Turnage, and ... More


The Audience as Congregation

W. Anthony Sheppard

in Revealing Masks: Exotic Influences and Ritualized Performance in Modernist Music Theater

Published in print:
2001
Published Online:
May 2012
ISBN:
9780520223028
eISBN:
9780520924741
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:
10.1525/california/9780520223028.003.0008
Subject:
Music, Performing Practice/Studies

With the creation of new forms of ritual music theater in twentieth-century Europe and America came a radical reconceptualization of the audience's role and of the performance space itself. A basic ... More


Deaths in Venice: The Cases of Gustav von Aschenbach

Philip Kitcher

Published in print:
2013
Published Online:
November 2015
ISBN:
9780231162647
eISBN:
9780231536035
Item type:
book
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:
10.7312/columbia/9780231162647.001.0001
Subject:
Philosophy, Aesthetics

This book provides a philosophical analysis of Thomas Mann's Death in Venice and connects the predicament of the novella's central character to Western thought's most compelling questions. The book ... More


Love Knots: Britten, Pears, and the Sonnet

Lloyd Whitesell

in Rethinking Britten

Published in print:
2013
Published Online:
September 2013
ISBN:
9780199794805
eISBN:
9780199345243
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199794805.003.0003
Subject:
Music, History, Western

This chapter explores the first creative fruits of Britten's partnership with Pears in two cycles, Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo (1940) and The Holy Sonnets of John Donne (1945). The balance in ... More


Post-War Women in Britten

J. P. E. Harper-Scott

in Rethinking Britten

Published in print:
2013
Published Online:
September 2013
ISBN:
9780199794805
eISBN:
9780199345243
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199794805.003.0005
Subject:
Music, History, Western

This chapter attempts to reverse the appropriation of the suffering of women in Britten's operas by a politically resolute group of men. It also suggests that Britten is not so straightforwardly a ... More


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