The WFMT Radio Network
Centenary – Benjamin Britten
In celebration of the centenary (November 22) of Benjamin Britten - who said that music "has the beauty of loneliness and of pain: of strength and freedom" - WFMT presents a two hour documentary in which leading Britten authorities and performers, many who knew and worked with the composer, reflect on the inspirations behind his art and his communicative power as musician and man.
Among the contributors are soprano Phyllis Curtin, tenor Ian Bostridge, baritones John-Shirley Quirk (for whom Britten specifically wrote a number of operatic roles), Thomas Hampson, Sir Thomas Allen and Simon Keenlyside, bass Sir John Tomlinson, pianist and accompanist Graham Johnson, conductor Steuart Bedford, members of the English Chamber Orchestra and London Symphony Orchestra, and Director of the Britten-Pears Foundation, Richard Jarman.
Benjamin Britten was born on November 22, 1913 in Lowestoft, England, a fishing port and seaside resort about 100 miles northeast of London. His father was an affluent dental surgeon and his mother was an accomplished amateur singer. Benjamin Britten is widely regarded as the greatest British composer of his generation: a master of dramatic music in the forms of opera, choral and orchestral works. Often alienated by the prevailing musical establishment, Britten brought into his music influences from European and American contemporary composers, as well as Balinese gamelan. He was equally adept at writing for professionals, amateurs and children, and composed prolifically throughout his life until illness curtailed his activities. He was awarded a life peerage in 1976, becoming Baron Britten of Aldeburgh where he lived for more than thirty years and founded the famous festival in 1948. Benjamin Britten died on December 4, 1976.
Music by Britten includes:
A Boy was Born
Death in Venice
On This Island
Our Hunting Fathers
String Quartet No 1
String Quartet No. 3
The Prince of the Pagodas
The Rape of Lucretia
The Turn of the Screw
Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge
Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra
This special Benjamin Britten centenary program is available free of charge to all stations and will be available October 1, 2013 for 1 broadcast before September 30, 2014.