Born in Lowestoft in 1913, Benjamin Britten studied with Frank Bridge and composed, when he was 10, a Simple Symphony. He truly made his mark in the musical world with Phantasy-Quartet, composed for oboe and strings and created in 1934 in Florence. Subsequent pieces such as Les Illuminations, to verses written by Rimbaud, or The Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings allowed him to assert his style and personality.
In 1945, the creation of Peter Grimes marked both the birth of modern English opera and the beginning of his career as a dramatic musician. Many operatic works followed, among which The Rape of Lucretia in 1946, Albert Herring in 1947, The Turn of the Screw in 1954, A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 1960, Death in Venice in 1973.
Britten also wrote a large-scale requiem for the consecration of the new Coventry Cathedral, War Requiem, as well as several pieces for cello created by Mstislav Rostropovitch.
As he did not belong to any group or musical style, influenced by Purcell and English folklore, but also by musicians as diverse as Berg, Verdi, Moussorgski or Debussy, Britten forged his language away from fashion and circles and simply sought to adapt his music to the needs of his compositional work. He died in Aldeburgh in 1976.
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