she sighed, she cried, she damn near died.

for those of you who don’t know, Benjamin Britten is kind of my thing. i really discovered Britten when i was, of all things, writing a paper on Ligeti. i was writing an analytical paper on Ligeti’s Horn Trio and i took out a random assortment of horn chamber music from the library. That included, among the Ligeti, the Brahms Horn Trio and Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings. i figured, why not listen to the piece? two things happened as a result: i fell in love with Ian Bostridge and Benjamin Britten. so i got recordings of everything i could get my hands on, starting with anything Bostridge sang of Britten’s. as i did this, i started to read about Britten’s life and i was totally transfixed. something about his work, his life resonated with me. i was totally hooked. i bought my first biography from the Juilliard bookstore for $5 and read it in a day.

the deal was sealed.

so here i am, 3 1/2 years later, writing my master’s thesis on the role of gender in Britten’s chamber operas, specifically The Turn of the Screw and The Rape of Lucretia. i’ve been to Aldeburgh and to my Mecca — the Red House. i’m in touch with the librarian at the Britten-Pears Foundation and, well, the honeymoon is still going strong.

so happy birthday Edward Benjamin Britten. your mother called you “the fourth B” but to my friends and i, you’re just benny b.

a few things to leave you with on this day:

the sign for the new Young Britten exhibition at the Red House (August 2009)

me at Britten's grave (which is right beside Peter Pears)

and of course…

Peter Pears singing “O Waly, Waly” with Britten accompanying (if you like this, check out the Decca DVD of their perfomances of the Folksongs and Schubert’s Winterreise)

*to see more pictures from my trip to the Suffolk coast check out my flickr and facebook albums

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