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  1. June 24, 2014

    Winterreise, Aldeburgh Festival, Suffolk, UK – review

    In video footage shot in 1968, Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears perform excerpts from Winterreise, Schubert’s 1828 song...

  2. June 17, 2014

    San Francisco Symphony, Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco – review

    Michael Tilson Thomas may have defied the calendar by producing a Benjamin Britten centennial festival a year late, but he...

  1. June 17, 2014

    Aldeburgh Festival 2014, Aldeburgh, Suffolk, UK – review

    It would be very predictable if the Aldeburgh Festival were to focus every year on the music of its founder, Benjamin...

  2. June 16, 2014

    Aldeburgh Festival 2014, Aldeburgh, Suffolk, UK – review

    As a coastal county, Suffolk has faced its fair share of activity in wartime. During the first world war Ipswich and...

  3. June 2, 2014

    Peter Grimes, Grange Park, Hampshire – review

    Here was an unusual sight. After so many productions that have reimagined Peter Grimes in abstract or expressionist...

  4. May 30, 2014

    British composers and the English landscape

    The composer Richard Skelton walks to work. Every day he leaves his cottage, located deep within the fell lands of Cumbria...

  5. May 23, 2014

    Pierre-Laurent Aimard on Aldeburgh and Britten

    Ever since Pierre-Laurent Aimard took on the role of artistic director at the Aldeburgh Festival in 2009, he has been...

  6. May 16, 2014

    Britten’s ‘Owen Wingrave’ at Aldeburgh Festival

    Has it ever been easier to be a pacifist? Neocon visionaries aside, there is scant appetite for war in western democracies....

  7. May 2, 2014

    1930s Violin Concertos Vol 1: Barber, Hartmann, Berg et al – review

    The 1930s saw a sudden flourishing of concertos for violin. In this selection, the first of a planned series, Shaham asks...

  8. April 18, 2014

    France’s festival of Britten

    The Opéra de Lyon is in the middle of a Benjamin Britten blitz. A poster emblazoned across the façade of the company’s home...

  9. April 1, 2014

    Louise Alder and Ligeti Quartet, Wigmore Hall, London – review

    There was no opera whatsoever on the programme. Most of the musicians were string players. So why did this performance – the...

  10. March 27, 2014

    Prince of the Pagodas, Coliseum, London – review

    It just doesn’t work well enough in the theatre, either musically or as narrative. From the very first, when John Cranko...

  11. January 3, 2014

    Benjamin Britten: Britten to America

    This collection of previously unrecorded radio and theatre music makes an unexpected postscript to the Britten centenary....

  12. November 8, 2013

    Britten and Alston, Barbican, London

    Richard Alston’s musical sensibilities must be a guiding fact in any survey of his work, from his early steps – the...

  13. October 11, 2013

    Benjamin Britten’s home in Suffolk opens to visitors and scholars

    The voice, formal but friendly, has a baritonal timbre, with a plummy accent in the well-bred English tradition. The speaker...

  14. October 4, 2013

    Britten weekend, Southbank Centre, London – review

    Is Peter Grimes a self-portrait by Benjamin Britten? Ever since his death in 1976, it has been customary to categorise...

  15. September 11, 2013

    Paul Bunyan, Peacock Theatre, London – review

    Visionary it ain’t. You can’t even excuse Paul Bunyan on the basis of its eclectic music. The Broadway operetta that...

  16. September 3, 2013

    BBC Proms: Orchestre de Paris, Royal Albert Hall, London – review

    Although the celebration of Wagner’s bicentenary has been the most impressive feature of this year’s Proms, Benjamin...

  17. August 30, 2013

    Britten: War Requiem; Peter Grimes

    These recordings could hardly be more different in their impact. Peter Grimes, recorded at the opening concerts of this...

  18. August 28, 2013

    All the best: Winterreise

    Schubert virtually invented the song-cycle as an art form. With Winterreise he also perfected it. He had a precedent in...

  19. July 5, 2013

    Barometer: travel. Martello Tower AA

    Built around 1810 to defend against the threat of invasion by Napoleon, Martello Tower AA in the tiny Suffolk hamlet of...

  20. June 23, 2013

    Gloriana, Royal Opera House, London – review

    Of the many centenary tributes to Benjamin Britten, this was always going to be the most challenging. Sixty years after...

  21. June 21, 2013

    These New Puritans, Heaven, London

    These New Puritans take their name from The Fall’s 1980 song “New Puritan”, in which Salford’s wayward punk seer Mark E...

  22. June 18, 2013

    Church Parables, Aldeburgh Festival, Suffolk, UK – review

    Although it is 35 years since Benjamin Britten died, his spirit lives powerfully on at his house in Aldeburgh. To mark his...

  23. June 9, 2013

    Aldeburgh Festival, Snape Maltings, Suffolk, UK – review

    Some places live on powerfully through the work of creative artists. Dickens’s London, the Lake District as viewed through...

  24. June 7, 2013

    Landscape with visions of Britten

    “A bit Dad’s Army” is how Abigail Lane describes Snap, the contemporary art exhibition attached to the world-renowned...

  25. May 23, 2013

    Cinema reviews: Epic, The Hangover Part III, The Big Wedding and more

    There’s design fervour and intense colour in Epic, a 3D computer animation from the team behind the notably profitable Ice...

  26. April 26, 2013

    Oke stands tall for the best of Britten

    Whatever else we may hear during this year’s Benjamin Britten centenary, the work that remains most closely associated with...

  27. April 26, 2013

    A young person’s guide to the choir

    They sit in neat rows, 40-odd pupils from St Pancras Catholic Primary School in Ipswich – some looking as though they’d...

  28. April 17, 2013

    The Turn of the Screw, Barbican, London – review

    The death of Sir Colin Davis at the weekend robbed this concert of its esteemed conductor. Originally planned to mark the...

  29. April 12, 2013

    Vengerov’s Britten, Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford

    The Britten centenary is giving us all sorts of opportunity to reassess music that is either little known or underestimated,...

  30. March 1, 2013

    Follow the music

    “The Borough” in the English composer Benjamin Britten’s Peter Grimes is a bleak place. Based on part of a poem by George...

  31. February 24, 2013

    Philharmonia Orchestra/Ashkenazy, Royal Festival Hall, London

    This is Korean composer Unsuk Chin’s first season as musical director of the Philharmonia Orchestra’s “Music of Today”...

  32. February 8, 2013

    Variations on Britten

    Benjamin Britten: A Life in the Twentieth Century, by Paul Kildea, Allen Lane, RRP£30, 688 pages Benjamin Britten: A Life...

  33. February 1, 2013

    Matthew Barley: Around Britten

    This will surely go down as one of the more offbeat centenary tributes to Britten. Barley, an unclassifiable cellist, builds...

  34. January 25, 2013

    A walk with the FT: In Britten’s footsteps

    One moment we are listening to widgeon ducks whistling from the wetlands to our right. The next we are stopped in our tracks...

  35. January 24, 2013

    John Adams, St Luke’s, London

    While we are waiting for John Adams’s latest work, The Gospel According to the Other Mary, which the Los Angeles...

  36. January 18, 2013

    Blood, tears and musical scores

    Like a violent centrifuge, the middle of the 20th century threw music into chaos, scattering composers in all directions...

  37. December 30, 2012

    How do you top 2012?

    A fter the Olympic party of 2012, will 2013 be the year of the Olympic hangover? In the wake of four years of build-up, and...

  38. November 16, 2012

    Great Britten

    My first contact with the music of Benjamin Britten was at school. Aged nine, I sang “The Plough Boy”, a song whose tripping...

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