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Books > Arts & Photography > Music > 0571143253
  1. Benjamin Britten: A Biography
    Benjamin Britten: A Biography
    Benjamin Britten: A Biography
    Image(s) provided for illustrative purposes and may differ from the actual product
  2. Benjamin Britten: A Biography

    Delivery: 10-20 Working Days
    Customer Ratings (9 reviews)
    Price R1114.00

Additional Information

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


Humphrey Carpenter
Faber Faber Inc
Faber Faber Inc
Faber Faber Inc
Faber Faber Inc
Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Carpenter's unrestricted access to documents, and his ability to sift through them and judge honestly gives this biography the highest level of credibility. Well written, fluent prose. A way to honour the centenary.
This book is terribly marred by an unnecessary reliance on a limited number of sources. Many defenses of Britten's personality and reputation simply stink of excuse making and cover-up. Read the book, and you will notice this pattern, which doesn't much credit the late Humphrey Carpenter.

There is also no attempt by Carpenter to pursue the obvious contradictions of behavior and statement, in other words pure hypocrisy, that flow throughout the narrative. Britten's fawning behavior towards the British Royal family and other noble families, his self-created adulation machines for himself and in the media for his music, his poorly remunerated musical and household help, his love for fast expensive cars and large private houses, his horrendous and cowardly treatment of people he had no further use for, are all glossed over with nary a comment.

The redeeming factor in this book, though, are hints that Carpenter leaves in the book that seem to point to something... Read more
This book defined Britten for a generation; it darkened his reputation. It's well-written and the product of thorough research, many inteviews with persons of varying veracity: those dismissed by Britten often bearing grudges. Such anecdotes and and opinions illuminate the intensity, sometime hostility, and psychological transferences surrounding Britten's charisma. The book is still good background reading on events and atmospheres in Britten's life. All sources verify Britten's volatility, his flashpoint temper, and his terrible fear of performing: Carpenter addresses these weaknesses honestly. The book's great flaw is pursuing attitudes commonplace at the time of writing, but today intolerable, on Britten's sexuality: the unbalanced obsession with sexuality as the force behind Britten's actions, words, and music. Contra Carpenter, the Britten/Pears relationship wasn't a severe schoolmaster (Pears) dominating a frail homosexual (Britten), but a fruitful, inspiring partnership... Read more
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