A Life in the Twentieth Century

688pp 32 COLOUR ILLUS 2013 OUT OF PRINT B801



This is the definitive biography of Benjamin Britten, Britain's greatest modern composer. Britten broke decisively with the romantic, nationalist school of figures such as Parry, Elgar and Vaughan Williams and recreated English music in a fresh, modern, European form. With Peter Grimes (1945), Billy Budd, (1951) and The Turn of the Screw (1954), he composed works that have entered both the popular consciousness and the musical canon. He achieved this while carrying two disadvantages to worldly success at the time: a passionately held pacifism and his forty-year gay relationship with Peter Pears, for whom many of his greatest works were created. Kildea shows how Britten created the community of Aldeburgh, notably with the foundation of its Festival and the building of Snape Maltings, but also how costly his determination was. Above all, this book relates Britten's music to his life, and takes us into his creative process.

If you have ever been touched by the magic of Britten’s music, and want to perceive its alchemy, then don’t miss this book. INDEPENDENT