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Chapter 33 - Britten’s Performers: Those Most ‘Instrumental’

from Part IV - Wordsmiths, Designers, and Performers

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  31 March 2022

Vicki P Stroeher
Affiliation:
Marshall University, West Virginia
Justin Vickers
Affiliation:
Illinois State University
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Summary

Britten’s primary role was as a composer, but he possessed a unique ability to assemble musicians for performances which was second only to his skill at arranging notes for his compositions. His choices were impeccable in both activities. When he combined these — a specific piece composed for a specific performer — he produced music of startling originality. This chapter contextualises the instrumental music he wrote for each of the Aldeburgh Festivals that he personally directed. The focus is on select performers, many of whom function as subtexts in the music Britten created, and the premiere performances that helped to shape the festival season, including details of the original encounter that lead to the creation of the work and the collaborative process that produced such exceptional music.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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