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Thread: 23.1.2012 - Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) [REPEAT]

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flay View Post
    The 5th episode of CoTW left a bad taste. Donald informed us that BB would deliberately drop friends and colleagues, never to acknowledge them again. Was he really not such a nice person?

    Who would have been the best to have as a (platonic ) friend, BB or PP?
    Genuine question: was it really a matter of of Britten's not being nice or was it more a matter of his being unable/unwilling to deal with conflict?

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anna View Post
    Pears had a very odd voice I think.
    At the risk of flogging a dead horse, Pears' voice may be 'odd' or an acquired taste, but his was intensely musical and thoughtful singing. It'll do for me, compared with various stud tenors one could name.
    Last edited by JimD; 28-01-12 at 20:34.

  3. #33
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    [QUOTE=JimD;125582][QUOTE=Anna;125484] Pears had a very odd voice I think.

    At the risk of flogging a dead horse, Pears' voice may be 'odd' or an acquired taste, but his was intensely musical and thoughtful singing. It'll do for me, compared with various stud tenors one could name.
    I think Pears' voice is a marmite voice - you either like it or you don't, you can't be indifferent. I can see what others don't like about it but as you say JimD the artistry behind it all is so compelling.

    I had a good friend telling me the other night that he couldn't bear Britten's [vocal] music because it was always written with Pears' voice in mind, which voice he loathes. When you're up against that sort of thing, it's best to leave as quietly as you can, shaking your head in sorrow & put on a Britten/Pears CD
    Last edited by amateur51; 28-01-12 at 20:01. Reason: shocking trypos

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by amateur51 View Post
    Genuine question: was it really a matter of of Britten's not being nice or was it more a matter of his being unable/unwilling to deal with conflict?
    I'd say it was definitely the latter, though 'niceness' isn't really a quality I'd expect in a creative genius. I've been observing Britten's character (from a safe distance!) for years, and one of his failings was an inability to tell people to their face that they had to go. Sometimes Peter had to do the telling, sometimes they were simply dropped without explanation. This was virtually always for artistic reasons, but it was hurtful. On the other hand, there were plenty of people who were not dropped, and he had life-long friends who were outside or peripheral to the music world - Ludwig and Peg Hesse, for example, and the artist Mary Potter. He was also generous with money, and good to his surviving family.
    Last edited by Mary Chambers; 28-01-12 at 19:44.

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mary Chambers View Post
    I'd say it was definitely the latter, though 'niceness' isn't really a quality I'd expect in a creative genius. I've been observing Britten's character (from a safe distance!) for years, and one of his failings was an inability to tell people to their face that they had to go. Sometimes Peter had to do the telling, sometimes they were simply dropped without explanation. This was virtually always for artistic reasons, but it was hurtful. On the other hand, there were plenty of people who were not dropped, and he had life-long friends who were outside or peripheral to the music world - Ludwig and Peg Hesse, for example, and the artist Mary Potter. He was also generous with money, and good to his surviving family.
    Many thanks Mary

    Britten's 'thin skin' is a constant reference it seems to me but I'm not sure I know what the International Unit of skin thickness is

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mary Chambers View Post
    I'd say it was definitely the latter, though 'niceness' isn't really a quality I'd expect in a creative genius.
    What one defines as genius does seem pretty subjective. Jonathan Harvey, for me, expresses one ideal of genius combined with individual spiritual growth which is advocated in certain Eastern traditions.

  7. #37
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    [QUOTE compared with various stud tenors one could name.[/QUOTE]

    For what it's worth, I thought Mark Padmore's singing of "Still Falls the Rain" in Friday's Lunchtime Concert was exquisite - still available to listen again.

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mary Chambers View Post
    I'm a bit bemused to hear on CotW that the poems Britten set in Les Illuminations are by Baudelaire. They're by Rimbaud.
    Well he was always chasing Rimbauds

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