Britten's Children

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ISBN 9780571228393 Format Hardback
9780571228393
Paperback
Published 01/06/2006 Length 288 pages
288

About Book

Britten's Children confronts the edgy subject of the composer's obsessional yet strangely innocent relationships with adolescent boys. One of the hallmarks of Benjamin Britten's music is his use of boys' voices, and John Bridcut uses this to create a fresh prism through which to view the composer's life. Interweaving discussion of the music he wrote for and about children with interviews with the boys whom Britten befriended, Bridcut explores the influence of these unique friendships - notably with the late David Hemmings - and how they helped Britten maintain links with his own happy childhood.

In a remarkable part of the book Bridcut tells for the first time the full story of Britten's love affair in the 1930s with the 18-year-old German Wulff Scherchen, son of the conductor Hermann Scherchen. As Paul Hoggart of The Times commented, 'this type of love belonged to an emotional landscape that has vanished for ever, and we are the poorer for it'. Since making the film, the author has extended his research to include friendships Britten had with children which have not previously been documented.

The documentary Britten's Children won the Royal Philharmonic Society's 2005 Award for Creative Communication: 'this serious and beautiful film explored one aspect of a composer's life in great depth. Avoiding the temptation of sensationalism, Britten's Children was imaginatively researched and both touching and revelatory'.

Britten's Children confronts the edgy subject of the composer's obsessional yet strangely innocent relationships with adolescent boys. One of the hallmarks of Benjamin Britten's music is his use of boys' voices, and John Bridcut uses this to create a fresh prism through which to view the composer's life. Interweaving discussion of the music he wrote for and about children with interviews with the boys whom Britten befriended, Bridcut explores the influence of these unique friendships - notably with the late David Hemmings - and how they helped Britten maintain links with his own happy childhood. In a remarkable part of the book Bridcut tells for the first time the full story of Britten's love affair in the 1930s with the 18-year-old German Wulff Scherchen, son of the conductor Hermann Scherchen. As Paul Hoggart of The Times commented, 'this type of love belonged to an emotional landscape that has vanished for ever, and we are the poorer for it'. Since making the film, the author has extended his research to include friendships Britten had with children which have not previously been documented.The documentary Britten's Children won the Royal Philharmonic Society's 2005 Award for Creative Communication: 'this serious and beautiful film explored one aspect of a composer's life in great depth. Avoiding the temptation of sensationalism, Britten's Children was imaginatively researched and both touching and revelatory'.
  • About John Bridcut

    John Bridcut is a documentary film-maker for British television. His enthusiasm for English music has been lifelong, and his feature-length films, Britten's Children (2004), The Passions of Vaughan Williams (2008) and Elgar: The Man Behind the Mask (2010), have won awards. His most recent composer-portraits have been The Prince and the Composer (2011), in which HRH The Prince of Wales explored the life and music of Hubert Parry, and Delius: Composer; Lover, Enigma (2012). Other film subjects have included Prince Charles, Rudolf Nureyev, Roald Dahl, Hillary Clinton, Mstislav Rostropovich and the Queen. His book Britten's Children was published in 2006.

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