James Wood: Baron Britain of Aldeburgh
19 December 2013
Show More Benjamin Britten: A Life in the 20th Century by Paul Kildea.
Allen Lane, 635 pp., £30, January 2013, 978 1 84614 232 1Show More
Benjamin Britten: A Life for Music by Neil Powell.
Hutchinson, 512 pp., £25, January 2013, 978 0 09 193123 0Show More
“... For someone growing up with the music of Benjamin Britten, it was sometimes hard to recall that his last name was not ‘Britain’. The race that Nietzsche had deemed heavy-hoofed and unmusical, whose last truly great composer had been Purcell, a nation that had been doing nothing very much, musically, but warbling in cathedrals for a couple of centuries, had somehow managed to produce a 20th-century composer of international stature, whose last name was that of the nation itself ...”