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Benjamin Britten: A Biography

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A biography of Benjamin Britten which presents a panorama of British musical life since the 1920s.


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A biography of Benjamin Britten which presents a panorama of British musical life since the 1920s.

30 review for Benjamin Britten: A Biography

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    Purging bookshelves leads to more reading. I was ready to get rid of this biography until I read a bit and got totally sucked in. Britten said in 1946 when he was still rather young, "If I had been born in 1813 rather than 1913 I should have been a romantic, primarily concerned to express my personality in music." Carpenter's biography shows that even as a twentieth century composer, this is what he did. Carpenter tells the whole story about Britten, his personal charm, his incredible facility a Purging bookshelves leads to more reading. I was ready to get rid of this biography until I read a bit and got totally sucked in. Britten said in 1946 when he was still rather young, "If I had been born in 1813 rather than 1913 I should have been a romantic, primarily concerned to express my personality in music." Carpenter's biography shows that even as a twentieth century composer, this is what he did. Carpenter tells the whole story about Britten, his personal charm, his incredible facility as a composer (it is not farfetched to compare him to Mozart), his fulfilling yet complicated relationship to his partner Peter Pears (which began when homosexuality was illegal in England), his struggle with the full expression of his own sexuality which worked itself out largely by means of composition, his habit of using people and discarding them with no notice even though he cared for people quite a lot. It's an extraordinary achievement that Carpenter manages all this while still illuminating Britten's works. His analyses, both psychological and musical, ring true to me and make me want to go back and listen again to great works like The Turn of the Screw and Death in Venice - as well as to discover some others that I don't know - like his last string quartet, #3. A moving and well-written book, but a reader who does not know Britten's work at all might find it too dense. It stays on my shelf!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Scott

    This was a really fantastic biography. It took me a while to get through (nearly 600 pages, not including the appendices), but it really was a page-turner. Britten was absolutely fascinating and totally remarkable - definitely a musical idol of mine. There are some uncomfortable subjects covered here, but they are done so with frankness and elegance, which allows them to be discussed without attacking Britten (or anyone else). If you're at all interested in Benjamin Britten and/or his music I wo This was a really fantastic biography. It took me a while to get through (nearly 600 pages, not including the appendices), but it really was a page-turner. Britten was absolutely fascinating and totally remarkable - definitely a musical idol of mine. There are some uncomfortable subjects covered here, but they are done so with frankness and elegance, which allows them to be discussed without attacking Britten (or anyone else). If you're at all interested in Benjamin Britten and/or his music I would highly recommend this.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Eric Martin

    I loved this biography. Carpenter has a way of bringing Britten to life in a way that many biographers cannot. I originally found this book as part of a research project, and eventually read the entire thing. While the author seems to be biased toward Britten, the book is very well researched, and the sources are well cited.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Shannon McCue

    I REALLY REALLY LOVE BENJAMIN BRITTEN. this book will make you feel like you know him personally. i like carpenter's style and approach... lots of great quotations or maybe i just need to sleep more. I REALLY REALLY LOVE BENJAMIN BRITTEN. this book will make you feel like you know him personally. i like carpenter's style and approach... lots of great quotations or maybe i just need to sleep more.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lee Miller

    Enlightening, insightful, entertaining, and fundamental for anyone interested in twentieth-century music.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Chilli911

  7. 4 out of 5

    D J Webb

  8. 4 out of 5

    David

  9. 4 out of 5

    Colin

  10. 4 out of 5

    Uncle

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ben

  12. 5 out of 5

    Carl Harris

  13. 4 out of 5

    Avis Black

  14. 4 out of 5

    Apolline

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ewan Mccormick

  16. 4 out of 5

    Karen

  17. 5 out of 5

    Catherine Dixon

  18. 5 out of 5

    Alex Diaz

  19. 5 out of 5

    Steve

  20. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

  21. 4 out of 5

    Princessofwails

  22. 5 out of 5

    Aaron

  23. 5 out of 5

    Graham Ford

  24. 4 out of 5

    Richard Zweier

  25. 5 out of 5

    Eduardo

  26. 4 out of 5

    Esther

  27. 4 out of 5

    Greg McConeghy

  28. 5 out of 5

    Emma

  29. 4 out of 5

    Chris Wainwright

  30. 5 out of 5

    Dan Eggleston

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