Music: Benjamin Britten - Cello Symphony - 5 vid

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Benjamin Britten

United Kingdom




Cello Symphony

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Edward Benjamin Britten, Barón Britten, (22 de noviembre de 1913 - 4 de diciembre de 1976) fue un compositor, director de orquesta y pianista británico. Fue el primer músico o compositor que recibió un título nobiliario.


Biografía

Britten nació en Lowestoft, condado de Suffolk, Inglaterra, hijo de un dentista y de una talentosa música amateur.

El día de su nacimiento, 22 de noviembre, es la festividad de Santa Cecilia, patrona de la música, y el joven Britten mostró aptitudes musicales desde muy pequeño. Estudió en la Escuela Gresham y comenzó a componer desde temprana edad.

En 1927 comenzó a tomar lecciones particulares con Frank Bridge. También estudió -menos felizmente- en el Colegio Real de Música con el compositor John Ireland y algunas intervenciones de Ralph Vaughan Williams. Aunque fue retirado por sus padres por sugerencia del equipo docente, Britten intentó estudiar con Alban Berg en Viena. En aquellos años, Berg no era considerado un "buen ejemplo".

Las primeras composiciones de su autoría que llamaron la atención fueron la Sinfonietta (Op.1) y una selección de variaciones corales, A Boy was born[1] para los cantores de la BBC. Al año siguiente conoció al escritor W. H. Auden, con quien colaboró en el ciclo de canciones Our Hunting Fathers,[2] composición radical en su tratamiento musical y en el sentido político, y en otras obras. Relevancia más profunda tuvo su encuentro en 1936 con el tenor Peter Pears, con el que mantuvo una relación de pareja hasta su muerte, y que pasó a ser su colaborador musical e inspirador.

A principios de 1939 ambos siguieron a Auden a Estados Unidos. Allí Britten compuso la opereta Paul Bunyan, inspirada en el personaje homónimo, primera obra lírica con libreto de Auden, así como el primer ciclo de canciones para Pears. Este periodo fue también notable por varios trabajos orquestales, incluyendo la "Variaciones sobre un tema de Frank Bridge", escrito en 1937 para orquesta de cuerdas, el "Concierto para violín" y la "Sinfonía de Réquiem", para orquesta completa.

Britten y Pears retornaron a Inglaterra en 1942; en el viaje de regreso por mar el compositor completó los corales "Himno a Santa Cecilia", última colaboración con Auden, y "Ceremonia de Villancicos". Enseguida comenzó a trabajar en su ópera Peter Grimes, cuyo estreno en Sadler's Wells en 1945 fue uno de sus mayores éxitos. Britten comenzó a encontrar oposición en el ambiente musical de Londres, y gradualmente salió de escena fundando el Grupo de ópera inglesa en 1947 y el Festival de Aldeburgh al año siguiente con el objetivo, aunque no exclusivo, de interpretar sus propias composiciones.

Britten fue nombrado Companion of Honour con motivo de la Coronación de Isabel II (1953).

Su mayor éxito como compositor fue el Réquiem de Guerra, una obra en la que Britten mezcla la música de difuntos con una selección de poemas de Wilfred Owen. Fue escrita por encargo para la reapertura de la Catedral de Coventry, en 1962. Su intención era que esta obra fuese una manifestación contra cualquier tipo de conflicto bélico, una denuncia de la irracionalidad e inutilidad de la guerra, y que se convirtiese en un símbolo de un nuevo espíritu de unidad, de reconciliación en plena Guerra Fría, y así reunió a un trío de solistas que provenían de las tres naciones europeas que más protagonismo habían tenido en la guerra: el barítono alemán Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, el tenor inglés Peter Pears y la soprano rusa Galina Vishnévskaya.

Britten desarrolló una estrecha amistad con los rusos Dimitri Shostakóvich y Mstislav Rostropóvich, colaborando musicalmente con ellos.

Recibió la Orden de Mérito del Reino Unido en marzo de 1965.

En su última década, la salud de Britten -especialmente su corazón- se fue resintiendo progresivamente. De sus últimos trabajos cabe destacar las óperas Owen Wingrave (1970) y Muerte en Venecia (1971-3), así como la dramática cantata Phaedra (1975), compuesta para Janet Baker.

El 2 de julio de 1976 recibió el título de Barón Britten de Aldeburgh, en el Condado de Suffolk, convirtiéndose, así, en el primer músico o compositor que recibió un título nobiliario.

Falleció el 4 de diciembre de 1976, de insuficiencia cardíaca, en su casa de Aldeburgh. Fue inhumado en la iglesia de San Pablo. La tumba de su compañero, Sir Peter Pears está junto a la suya.

 http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Britten



Edward Benjamin Britten, Baron Britten, OM CH (22 November 1913 – 4 December 1976) was an English composer, conductor, and pianist. Showing prodigious talent from an early age – he composed Quatre Chansons françaises for soprano and orchestra at the age of fourteen – he first came to public attention with the a cappella choral work A Boy Was Born. With the premiere of his opera Peter Grimes  in 1945 he leapt to international fame, and for the next fifteen years he devoted much of his compositional attention to writing operas, several of which now appear regularly on international stages. Britten's interests as a composer were wide-ranging; he produced important music in such varied genres as orchestral, choral, solo vocal (much of it written for the tenor Peter Pears), chamber and instrumental, as well as film music. He also took a great interest in writing music for child and amateur performers, and was a fine pianist and conductor.


Life

Britten was born in Lowestoft, Suffolk, the son of a dentist and a talented amateur musician. He showed musical gifts very early in life, and began composing prolifically as a child. He was educated at Old Buckenham Hall School in Suffolk, an all-boys prep school, and Gresham's School, Holt. In 1927, he began private lessons with Frank Bridge; by the following year he had composed Quatre Chansons françaises for soprano and orchestra, though it appears that his abilities as an orchestrator were essentially self-taught rather than learned from Bridge.[1] He also studied, less happily, at the Royal College of Music under John Ireland, with some input from Ralph Vaughan Williams. Although ultimately prevented by his parents (at the suggestion of College staff), Britten had also intended to study with Alban Berg in Vienna. He studied both the piano and the viola; the piano was his only instrument as an adult, but the viola would play a significant role in many of his adult works.[citation needed]

Britten was a prolific juvenile composer; some 800 works and fragments precede his early published works. His first compositions to attract wide attention were the Sinfonietta Op. 1, A Hymn to the Virgin (1930) and a set of choral variations A Boy was Born, written in 1934 for the BBC Singers. In this same period he wrote Friday Afternoons, a collection of 14 songs mostly for unison singing, for the pupils of Clive House School, Prestatyn where Britten's brother, Robert, was headmaster.[2]


Early professional life

In April 1935, he was approached by the film director Alberto Cavalcanti to write the film score for the documentary The King's Stamp, produced by the GPO Film Unit.[3] He subsequently met W. H. Auden, who was also working for the GPO Film Unit; together they worked on the films Coal Face and Night Mail.[4] They also collaborated on the song cycle Our Hunting Fathers Op. 8, radical both in politics and musical treatment, and other works.

Of more lasting importance to Britten was his meeting in 1937 with the tenor Peter Pears, who was to become his musical collaborator and inspiration as well as his life partner. In the same year he composed a Pacifist March (words, Ronald Duncan) for the Peace Pledge Union, of which, as a pacifist, he had become an active member, but the work was not a success and soon withdrawn. One of Britten's most noteworthy works from the 1930s was Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge for string orchestra, Op. 10, written in 1937.

In early 1939, Britten and Pears followed Auden to America. There, in 1940, Britten composed Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo, the first of many song cycles for Pears. Already friends with the composer Aaron Copland, Britten encountered his latest works Billy the Kid and An Outdoor Overture, both of which manifestly influenced his own music.[5] While in America Britten wrote his first music drama, Paul Bunyan, an operetta (to a libretto by Auden). The period in America was also remarkable for a number of orchestral works, including the Violin Concerto Op. 15, and Sinfonia da Requiem Op. 20 (for full orchestra).

In the meantime, Britten had had his first encounter with Balinese gamelan music through the transcriptions for two pianos made by the Canadian composer Colin McPhee. Britten first met McPhee at Stanton Cottage in the summer of 1939, and the two subsequently performed a number of McPhee's transcriptions for a recording.[6] This musical encounter was to bear fruit decades later in several Balinese-inspired works including The Prince of the Pagodas,[7] Noye's Fludde[8] and Death in Venice.[9]


Return to England

Britten and Pears returned to England in 1942, and both applied for recognition as conscientious objectors; Britten was initially refused recognition, but gained it on appeal. He completed the choral works Hymn to St. Cecilia (his last large-scale collaboration with Auden) and A Ceremony of Carols during the long sea voyage. He had already begun work on his opera Peter Grimes based on the writings of Suffolk poet George Crabbe, and its première at Sadler's Wells in 1945 was his greatest success thus far. However, Britten encountered opposition from sectors of the English musical establishment and gradually withdrew from the London scene, founding the English Opera Group in 1947 and the Aldeburgh Festival the following year, partly (though by no means solely) to perform his own works. From 1949 to 1951 he had his only private pupil, Arthur Oldham. One of Oldham's achievements was the setting for full orchestra of Britten's Variations on a Theme by Frank Bridge, for the Frederick Ashton ballet Le Rêve de Léonor (1949).[10]

Peter Grimes was the first in a series of English operas, of which Billy Budd (1951) and The Turn of the Screw (1954) were particularly admired. His Shakespeare opera, A Midsummer Night's Dream, followed in 1960. These operas share common themes. Even in his comic opera Albert Herring of 1947, all feature an 'outsider' character excluded or misunderstood by society. Often this is the eponymous protagonist, as in Peter Grimes and Owen Wingrave.

Britten was appointed a Companion of Honour (CH) in the Coronation Honours, 1953.[11]

An increasingly important influence was the music of the East, an interest that was fostered by a tour with Pears in 1957, when Britten was struck by the music of the Balinese gamelan and by Japanese Noh plays. The fruits of this tour include the ballet The Prince of the Pagodas (1957) and the series of semi-operatic "Parables for Church Performance": Curlew River (1964), The Burning Fiery Furnace (1966) and The Prodigal Son (1968). The greatest success of Britten's career was, however, the War Requiem, written for the 1962 consecration of the newly reconstructed Coventry Cathedral.

Britten developed close friendships with Russian musicians Dmitri Shostakovich and Mstislav Rostropovich in the 1960s. He composed his Cello Suites, Cello Symphony and Cello Sonata for Rostropovich, and conducted the first Western performance of Shostakovich's Fourteenth Symphony. Shostakovich dedicated this score to Britten, and often spoke very highly of his music. Britten himself had previously dedicated The Prodigal Son (the third and last of the 'Church Parables') to Shostakovich. He was honoured again by appointment to the Order of Merit (OM) on 23 March 1965.[12]

In his last decade, Britten's health deteriorated, and his later works became more and more sparse in texture. They include the operas Owen Wingrave (1970) and Death in Venice (1971–1973), the Suite on English Folk Tunes "A Time There Was" (1974) and Third String Quartet (1975)— which drew on material from Death in Venice— as well as the dramatic cantata Phaedra (1975), written for Janet Baker.

Having previously declined a knighthood, Britten accepted a life peerage on 2 July 1976 as Baron Britten, of Aldeburgh in the County of Suffolk.[13] A few months later he died of heart failure at his house in Aldeburgh. He is buried in the churchyard of St. Peter and St. Paul's Church there, with a gravestone carved by Reynolds Stone. The grave of his partner, Sir Peter Pears lies next to his, and near to that of Imogen Holst, a close friend. A memorial stone to him was unveiled in the north choir aisle of Westminster Abbey in 1978.

The Red House in Aldeburgh, where Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears lived and worked together for almost thirty years, is now the home of the Britten-Pears Foundation established to promote their musical legacy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Britten


Music:
Benjamin Britten
Cello Symphony
5 vid


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