23 November 2013

Britten at 100

 "In Britten I have found a new hero, a musically surprising and multi-dimensional citizen of the world." ~ Marin Alsop
Here is a piece from npr on composer Benjamin Britten (and specifically his War Requiem) on the centenary of his birth. I did not know his music or politics at all.

Update (11/26):  There also is a recent essay here from NYRB reviewing a troika of recent works on Britten. The essay is more straightforward about Britten's sexuality and his politics than the npr piece. And it comes down, I think, on the right side of the continuing debate about Britten's accomplishment and stature. That debate seems to be heated: " . . . [I]n Britten’s centennial year (he was born in 1913 and died in 1976), the “battle of Britten” . . . continues. Britten’s reputation—the need to decide once and for all whether he is great or overrated—is central to discussion of him, in a way that is not true for more acclaimed contemporaries (like Stravinsky) or lesser ones (like Finzi). A peevish, aggrieved tone persists on either side."

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