The Cambridge companion to Benjamin Britten

Corporate Author: Cambridge collections online.
Other Authors: Cooke, Mervyn.
Format: Online Book
Language: English
Published: Cambridge, UK ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 1999.
Series: Cambridge companions to music.
Online Access: Online version
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Review by Choice Review

The most comprehensive collection of essays on Britten and his music to date, this volume goes beyond the usual subjects that one can fine in a dozen other Britten volumes (analyses of the major operas, the composer's assimilation of exotic musical influences, his homosexuality) and explores a host of other areas. For example, an essay on the "juvenilia" explores Britten's earliest works; another perceptive entry considers the composer's close relationship with, and the influence of, W.H. Auden. Cooke (Univ. of Nottingham, UK) does an outstanding job of grouping the 17 essays under meaningful headings, presenting them as four substantial "movements." Many readers will find the third ("Perspectives") and fourth ("The Composer in the Community") most revealing--in particular, Donald Mitchell's discussion of Britten the pacifist, Arved Ashby's look at Britten the symphonist (and the symphonist who might have been), and Judith Le Grove's moving account of Britten's relationship with Aldeburgh as place, festival site, and symbol. Definitely an upper-level book, this volume requires familiarity with Britten's music and offers no photographs or guides to recordings. But reading it will be rewarding for the ambitious undergraduate and advanced scholar alike. E. Schwartz; Bowdoin College

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.