Benjamin Britten

~ Person


Edward Benjamin Britten, Baron Britten, OM CH (22 November 1913 – 4 December 1976) was an English composer, conductor and pianist. He was a central figure of 20th-century British classical music, with a range of works including opera, other vocal music, orchestral and chamber pieces. His best-known works include the opera Peter Grimes (1945), the War Requiem (1962) and the orchestral showpiece The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra (1945).

Born in Suffolk, the son of a dentist, Britten showed talent from an early age. He studied at the Royal College of Music in London and privately with the composer Frank Bridge. Britten first came to public attention with the a cappella choral work A Boy was Born in 1934. With the premiere of Peter Grimes in 1945, he leapt to international fame. Over the next 28 years, he wrote 14 more operas, establishing himself as one of the leading 20th-century composers in the genre. In addition to large-scale operas for Sadler's Wells and Covent Garden, he wrote "chamber operas" for small forces, suitable for performance in venues of modest size. Among the best known of these is The Turn of the Screw (1954). Recurring themes in the operas are the struggle of an outsider against a hostile society, and the corruption of innocence.

Britten's other works range from orchestral to choral, solo vocal, chamber and instrumental as well as film music. He took a great interest in writing music for children and amateur performers, including the opera Noye's Fludde, a Missa Brevis, and the song collection Friday Afternoons. He often composed with particular performers in mind. His most frequent and important muse was his personal and professional partner, the tenor Peter Pears; others included Kathleen Ferrier, Jennifer Vyvyan, Janet Baker, Dennis Brain, Julian Bream, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Mstislav Rostropovich. Britten was a celebrated pianist and conductor, performing many of his own works in concert and on record. He also performed and recorded works by others, such as Bach's Brandenburg concertos, Mozart symphonies, and song cycles by Schubert and Schumann.

Together with Pears and the librettist and producer Eric Crozier, Britten founded the annual Aldeburgh Festival in 1948, and he was responsible for the creation of Snape Maltings concert hall in 1967. In his last year, he was the first composer to be given a life peerage.

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Year Title Artist RatingReleases
2013 War Requiem Benjamin Britten 4 1
2014 String Quartet in F / Simple Symphony / Rhapsody / Phantasy / Quartettino Britten; Emperor Quartet 1
2014 1930s Violin Concertos, vol. 1 Samuel Barber / Karl Amadeus Hartmann / Alban Berg / Igor Stravinsky / Benjamin Britten; Gil Shaham 1
2015 Piano Concertos Britten, Barber; London Symphony Orchestra, Emil Tabakov, Elizabeth Joy Roe 1
2015 Illuminations Britten, Debussy, Garrop, Golijov; Avalon String Quartet 1
2015 BBC Music, Volume 23, Number 11: Beethoven: Piano Sonata no. 18 / Britten: Lachrymae / Shostakovich: Cello Sonata Beethoven, Britten, Shostakovich 1
2015 Children’s Crusade / A Ceremony of Carols Benjamin Britten; Mädchenchor Hannover, Ensemble S, Birgit Bachhuber, Gudrun Schröfel 1
2015 BBC Music, Volume 24, Number 1: Britten & Brahms: Violin Concertos Benjamin Britten, Johannes Brahms & Ida Haendel 1
2016 The Turn of the Screw Benjamin Britten 1
2016 British Clarinet Concertos, Volume 2 Britten, Mathias, Finzi, Cooke; BBC Symphony Orchestra, Michael Collins 1
A Ceremony of Carols (New London Children's Choir feat. conductor: Ronald Corp) Benjamin Britten 1
Billy Budd Benjamin Britten 1
Britten Songs, Volume 1 Benjamin Britten; Malcolm Martineau 1
Canticles I-V / The Heart of the Matter (Philip Langridge) Benjamin Britten 1
Choral Music Britten; Vasari Singers, Jeremy Backhouse 1
Folksongs / Benjamin Britten / Pears (Tenor) / Britten (Piano) Benjamin Britten 1
Gloriana, Op. 53a / The Prince of the Pagodas: Prelude and Dances, Op. 57b (Bournemouth Sympohny Orchestra feat. conductor: Uri Segal) Benjamin Britten 1
Le petit ramoneur Benjamin Britten 1
Oboe - Solo and Accompanied Britten, Krenek, Doráti; Helén Jahren, Elisabeth Westenholz 1
Pierino e il lupo / Guida del giovane all'orchestra Serge Prokofiev / Benjamin Britten 1
Serenade, Les Illuminations, Nocturne Benjamin Britten 1
Simple Symphony Benjamin Britten 1
Simple Symphony - Klavierkonzert - The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra (English Chamber Orchestra feat. conductor: Benjamin Britten) Benjamin Britten 1
The Little Sweep, Let's Make an Opera, Op. 45 / A Boy Was Born, Op. 3 Benjamin Britten 1
Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, op. 10 / Simple Symphony, op. 4 / Prelude and Fugue, op. 29 Benjamin Britten; Northern Sinfonia of England, Richard Hickox 1
War Requiem Benjamin Britten 1
War Requiem Benjamin Britten 1

Album + Compilation

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1967 20th Century Guitar Britten, Henze, Martin, Brindle, Villa-Lobos 1
1989 Cello Suites 1 & 2 / Cello Sonata Britten; Mstislav Rostropovich 2
1989 Her Early BBC Recordings, Volume 1 Bach, Falla, Britten; Jacqueline du Pré, Ernest Lush, Stephen Bishop-Kovacevich 1
1989 Prokofiev: Peter und der Wolf, Symphonie classique / Britten: Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra Prokofiev, Britten; London Symphony Orchestra, Hans-Joachim Kulenkampff, André Previn 1
1990 Peter and the Wolf / The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra / Carnival of the Animals Prokofiev, Britten, Saint-Saëns; Marián Lapšanský, Peter Toperczer, Czechoslovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, Ondrej Lenárd 1
1993 Herbert von Karajan Edition: Handel / Vaughan Williams / Ravel / Britten / Sibelius / Debussy / Bartók / Kodaly Handel, Vaughan Williams, Ravel, Britten, Sibelius, Debussy, Bartók, Kodály; Philharmonia Orchestra, Herbert von Karajan 2
1993 Piano Works for the Left Hand Ravel, Prokofiev, Britten; Boston Symphony Orchestra, Seiji Ozawa, Leon Fleisher 1
1993 Poulenc: Le Bestiaire / Tel jour, telle nuit / 9 mélodies / Britten: Michelangelo Songs / John Donne Sonnets Francis Poulenc, Benjamin Britten; Pierre Bernac, Francis Poulenc, Peter Pears, Benjamin Britten 1
1993 World of Britten Benjamin Britten 1
1994 Britten: Simple Symphony / Janáček: Suite / Suchoň: Serenade Benjamin Britten, Leoš Janáček, Eugen Suchoň; Slovak Chamber Orchestra, Bohdan Warchal 1
1995 Brandenburg Concertos 1-6 Johann Sebastian Bach; Benjamin Britten, English Chamber Orchestra 1
1995 Complete Music for String Quartet Benjamin Britten; Endellion String Quartet 1
1996 Britten: Anglo-American Chamber Music Series Britten; Moray Welsh, Alexander Barantschik, Paul Silverthorne, Roy Carter, John Leneham, John Alley 1
1998 Britten: Variations on a Theme by Frank Bridge / Vaughan Williams: Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis / Stravinsky: Jeu de cartes Benjamin Britten, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Igor Stravinsky; Philharmonia Orchestra, Herbert von Karajan 1
1998 Benjamin Britten: Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge op. 10 / Béla Bartók: Divertimento for String Orchestra (1939) Benjamin Britten, Béla Bartók; Polish Chamber Orchestra, Jerzy Maksymiuk 1
1998 The Planets / Simple Symphony Holst, Britten; Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Andrew Davis, Academy of St Martin in the Fields, Neville Marriner 1
1999 The Performer George Frideric Handel, Benjamin Britten; Heather Harper, Peter Pears, English Chamber Orchestra, Benjamin Britten 1
2000 BBC Music, Volume 8 Number 10: Peter and the Wolf with David Attenborough Prokofiev, Britten; BBC Philharmonic, Yan Pascal Tortelier, David Attenborough 1
2000 The Best of Britten Benjamin Britten; Eduard van Beinum, Neville Marriner 1
2002 War Requiem / Spring Symphony / Five Flower Songs / Hymn to St. Cecilia Britten; John Eliot Gardiner 1
2003 Concerto for Piano / Concerto for Violin Benjamin Britten; Sviatoslav Richter, Mark Lubotsky, English Chamber Orchestra, Benjamin Britten 1
2003 Serenade / Violin Concerto / Concerto for Double Strings Britten, Tippett; London Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir John Pritchard, Vernon Handley 1
2004 The British Music Collection: Benjamin Britten & William Walton Benjamin Britten, Sir William Walton 1
2004 English Song Ralph Vaughan Williams, Sir William Walton, Gustav Holst, Sir Charles Villiers Stanford, Peter Warlock, Sir Arnold Bax, Roger Quilter, Benjamin Britten; Philip Langridge, Felicity Lott, Simon Keenlyside, Della Jones, Christopher Maltman, Anthony Rolfe Johnson 1
2004 Choral Music Benjamin Britten 1
2006 The Complete Works For Oboe Benjamin Britten; Hermitage Chamber Orchestra & Alexei Utkin 1
2007 British Composers: Britten: War Requiem / Bliss: Morning Heroes Benjamin Britten, Sir Arthur Bliss; Elisabeth Söderström, Robert Tear, Sir Thomas Allen, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra Chorus, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Simon Rattle, John Westbrook, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Charles Groves 1
2007 Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf / Rawsthorne: Practical Cats / Britten: The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra Prokofiev, Rawsthorne, Britten 1
2007 Shostakovich: Symphony No.4 / Britten: Four Sea Interludes from "Peter Grimes" Shostakovich, Britten; André Previn 1
2008 Four Sea Interludes - Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra - Simple Symphony Benjamin Britten 1
2009 Violin Concertos Ludwig van Beethoven, Benjamin Britten; Janine Jansen, Paavo Järvi 2
2010 Fiðlukonsertar Edward Elgar, Herbert H. Ágústsson, Benjamin Britten, Páll P. Pálsson; Guðný Guðmundsdóttir, Sinfóníuhljómsveit Íslands 1
Britten Choral Works II: A Ceremony of Carols Benjamin Britten 1

Album + Compilation + Live

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1998 Beethoven: Symphony no. 7 / Britten: The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra / Falla: El amor brujo Beethoven, Britten, Falla; Gloria Lane, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Leopold Stokowski 1
1999 Double Concerto / Piano Concerto No. 27 / Sonata for 2 Pianos Mozart; Clifford Curzon, Benjamin Britten, English Chamber Orchestra, Daniel Barenboim 1

Album + Live

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1991 Hindemith: Viola Sonata in F major, op. 11 no. 4 / Britten: Lachrymae / Shostakovich: Viola Sonata, op. 147 Hindemith, Britten, Shostakovich; Yuri Bashmet, Sviatoslav Richter 1
1992 Bernstein: The Final Concert Beethoven, Britten; Boston Symphony Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein 1
1995 BBC Music, Volume 3, Number 11: Stravinsky: Rite of Spring / Britten: Four Sea Interludes (BBC National Orchestra of Wales feat. conductor: David Atherton) Stravinsky, Britten; BBC National Orchestra of Wales, David Atherton 1
1998 BBC Music, Volume 7, Number 2: The Prodigal Son (City of Birmingham Touring Opera & Birmingham Contempory Music Group) Benjamin Britten 1
2000 War Requiem Britten; Stefania Woytowicz, Peter Pears, Hans Wilbrink, Melos Ensemble, Benjamin Britten, Wandsworth School Boys' Choir, New Philharmonia Chorus, New Philharmonia Orchestra, Carlo Maria Giulini 1
2002 Haydn: Violin Sonata in G / Debussy: Violin Sonata / Schubert: Violin Sonata in A / Fantasy in C Haydn, Debussy, Schubert; Yehudi Menuhin, Benjamin Britten 1
2008 Brandenburg Concerto / Serenade for Winds / Petite Symphonie / Simple Symphony / Dance of the Pink Girl Bach, Dvořák, Gounod, Britten, Khachaturian; 2008 Festival Chamber Orchestra, Gregory Cherninsky, David Weiss, Yakov Birman, Cyrus Forough, David Shostac 1
2009 BBC Music, Volume 18, Number 4: Britten: St. Nicolas / Howells: Three Carol-Anthems Howells / Britten 1
2010 String Quartets 2 and 3 / Three Divertimenti (Elias String Quartet) Benjamin Britten 1
2010 Bach / Brahms / Britten Bach, Brahms, Britten, Chopin; Miklós Perényi, Dénes Várjon 1
2011 Music for a Time of War Charles Ives, John Adams, Benjamin Britten, Ralph Vaughan Williams; Oregon Symphony, Carlos Kalmar, Sanford Sylvan 1
2012 War Requiem Britten; Ian Bostridge, Simon Keenlyside, Sabina Cvilak, London Symphony Chorus, London Symphony Orchestra, Gianandrea Noseda 2
2012 War Requiem Benjamin Britten; City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra Chorus, City of Birmingham Symphony Youth Chorus, Andris Nelsons 1
2013 The Rape of Lucretia Britten; Kirchschlager, Bostridge, Gritton, Purves, Russell, Coleman-Wright, Summers, Booth, Aldeburgh Festival Ensemble, Knussen 1
2014 Cello Symphony / Cello Sonata Benjamin Britten; Zuill Bailey, Grant Llewellyn, North Carolina Symphony, Natasha Paremski 1
2014 The Turn of the Screw Britten; London Symphony Orchestra, Richard Farnes, Andrew Kennedy, Sally Matthews, Catherine Wyn-Rogers 1
War Requiem Op. 66 Britten; Christine Brewer, Anthony Dean Griffey, Gerald Finley, London Philharmonic Choir, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Kurt Masur 1


Year Title Artist RatingReleases
2007 Sonata in C major for cello and piano, Op.65 Benjamin Britten; Elisso Virsaladze, Natalia Gutman 1
2007 A Ceremony of Carols, Op.28 (Vesna Children Choir) Benjamin Britten 1

Unspecified type

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1984 Britten: Works for Orchestra Benjamin Britten; Sir Neville Marriner, Minnesota Orchestra 1
1989 Billy Budd Benjamin Britten 1
2003 BBC Music, Volume 12, Number 4: Christmas Music Respighi, Britten, Honegger 1
Britten conducts Britten Saint Nicolas, Rejoice in the Lamb Decca 475 6046 (disc 6) Benjamin Britten 1
Britten: Choral Music (Corydon Singers) Benjamin Britten 1
Spring Symphony / Four Sea Interludes (London Symphony Orchestra feat. conductor: Andre Previn) Benjamin Britten 1
Szenen aus Goethes Faust Schumann; Benjamin Britten, Fischer-Dieskau, Harwood, Pears, Shirley-Quirk 1


Year Title Artist RatingReleases
2011-08-06: BBC Proms 2011: Prom 30: Royal Albert Hall, City of Westminster, London, England, UK Gabriel Prokofiev / Benjamin Britten / Сергей Сергеевич Прокофьев 1
2011-09-10: BBC Proms 2011: Prom 74: Royal Albert Hall, City of Westminster, London, England, UK Sir Peter Maxwell Davies / Béla Bartók / Richard Wagner / Franz Liszt / Frédéric Chopin / Percy Grainger / Benjamin Britten / Richard Rodgers / Sir Edward Elgar / Thomas Arne / Sir Hubert Parry 1

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