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On Receiving the First Aspen Award: A Speech…

On Receiving the First Aspen Award: A Speech by Benjamin Britten (SC)

by Benjamin Britten

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Recently added bydonkelly68, the.ken.petersen
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This book offers further proof, if such is needed, that a book does not have to be weighty to give sustenance. This tome stretches to a whole twenty-three pages and was originally a speech, rather than prepared for the written page. It manages, however, to encapsulate the approach of Benjamin Britten to his work.

As I write this, the World is celebrating the centenary of Britten's birth and I, in a desperate attempt to be a little less ignorant than I currently am, have been listening to, and reading about our greatest local composer. Other people's opinions are to be respected and can tell one much about a person but, a few words from the heart of the person concerned will always provide the truest insight into the character.

Britten makes a fascinating point about recorded music and the ability to hear anything at any-time. He says that, whilst this may work as a memory of a great event, music is written with a certain auditorium in mind. A piece designed to be heard in a vast cathedral will not give up its full oeuvre in a small spare bedroom. This observation may still hold some truth but, with the advancement of high fidelity recording and play back equipment, I, along with many other impecunious music fans, would like to feel that it is of reduced significance.

By this stage in his career (1964), Britten had come through the early doubts and lack of direction. He had come back from America where, had the phrase been created, he might have suggested that he was trying to 'find himself', and was settling into his stride. These words were spoken at his acme. Although it is slightly tricky to acquire, this is well worth the read for anybody interested in music, and a must for any Britten fans. ( )
  the.ken.petersen | Mar 7, 2013 |
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