How apt that Benjamin Britten was born on St Cecilia's Day (22 November) in 1913. His music, and his artistry as a pianist, came from an enormous talent that he put to full use. His contribution to Music (rather than just British music) makes him a leading figure in the annals of 20th century music. He died on 4 December 1976 at Aldeburgh, where the festival he founded with Peter Pears continues.
A selection of M&V articles about Benjamin Britten
Ensemble. War and Peace - Giuseppe Pennisi reports from the Sagra Musicale Umbra Festival
Ensemble. Plus and Minus - Songs and arias from Jennifer Davis and Caroline Dowdle at the Buxton Festival, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Long Overdue - Giuseppe Pennisi was in the audience for the first performance in Rome of Benjamin Britten's 'Billy Budd'
Ensemble. Hugely Promising - Frank Zielhorst steps in as Principal Conductor of Sinfonia Viva, impressing Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Deeply Involving - Haydn, Britten and Schubert from The Alke String Quartet, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Familiar and Unfamiliar - The Sitwell Singers' Christmas concert, heard by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Highly Interesting - British music for cello and piano, enthralls Gerald Fenech. 'An important addition to the genre's discography in excellent performances, sound and annotations ...'
Ensemble. An Effective Combination - Music for viola and harp from Oliver Wass and Luba Tunnicliffe, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Engaging Accounts - A Celebration of the Twentieth Anniversary of Derby Cathedral Girls' Choir, heard by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Infinitely Varied - English music for solo guitar, enjoyed by Geoff Pearce. 'If you love English guitar music, and the performances of Julian Bream in particular, you will truly enjoy this disc.'
Ensemble. Beyond Expectation - Roderic Dunnett looks back to Nevill Holt Opera's 2017 'Tosca' and 'Noye's Fludde', and forward to the company's 2018 season
Ensemble. Social Comedy - Britten's 'Albert Herring' at the Buxton Festival, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Britten and Owen - A double bill from Sinfonia Viva and The Lost Boys, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Tender and Engrossing - Benjamin Britten's 'Peter Grimes' in Bologna impresses Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. An Attractive Sound-world - Mike Wheeler listens to the Thorne Trio
Ensemble. Excellent Track-record - Mike Wheeler is impressed by Opera North's 'Billy Budd'
CD Spotlight. A Serious Treat - Brass band works in memoriam, heard by Paul Sarcich. '... the bands are the best of Wales and play demanding music with utter professionalism.'
Ensemble. Balletic Energy - Britten, Korngold and Berlioz from Vilde Frang, Nicholas Collon and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra impresses Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Fighting for Justice - Florieke Beelen, Ensemble 10/10 and Clark Rundell, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Magical Stillness - The Elias Quartet plays at Buxton, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Sparkle and Affection - American and British art songs, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... a cause for constant enjoyment.'
Ensemble. A Delight - 'Albert Herring' in Florence impresses Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. A Winner - Derby Choral Union's anniversary concert, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. HOT 'Dream' in Honolulu - James Sohre reviews a Britten rarity
Ensemble. Very Special - Christmas music in Rome impresses Giuseppe Pennisi
A Higher Standard - Malcolm Miller reports from the Wigmore Hall / Kohn Foundation International Song Competition
CD Spotlight. A Fine Programme - Vaughan Williams and MacMillan oboe concertos, recommended by Howard Smith. '... superb performances ideally recorded.'
Ensemble. General Tendencies - Giuseppe Pennisi visits Aix-en-Provence for three operas and an orchestral concert
Ensemble. Endlessly Memorable - Britten's 'Death in Venice' from Garsington Opera at Wormsley, reviewed by Roderic Dunnett
Ensemble. Vividly Delivered - Tom Redmond's new spoken commentary to Britten's 'Young Person's Guide' impresses Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Challenging, Versatile and Unexpected - Roderic Dunnett visits Hungarian State Opera
Ensemble. Nicely Varied - A seasonal programme from the Derwent Singers, heard by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Imaginative Programming - Music for recorder and harpsichord from Denmark and the UK, recommended by Geoff Pearce. '... this partnership works very well musically ...'
Ensemble. Geological Imagery - Sinfonia Viva's schools residency project moves Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Exciting Times - Duncan Ward makes his debut as Sinfonia Viva's principal conductor, experienced by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Highly Successful - Roderic Dunnett looks back to Worcester's 2014 Three Choirs Festival, and forward to Hereford's Festival in July 2015
Ensemble. Wider Focus - Derby Bach Choir's 'Concert for Peace', heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. A Very Joyful Production - Benjamin Britten's 'Albert Herring' at Hampstead Garden Opera impresses Alice McVeigh
Ensemble. Collective Virtuosity - Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich, Rachmaninov and Britten from Natalie Clein, the Moscow Philharmonic and Yuri Simonov, heard by Mike Wheeler
DVD Spotlight. Innocence Abused - Britten's 'Death in Venice', reviewed by Robert Anderson. '... Britten conjures weird and wonderful sounds from his orchestra ...'
Ensemble. Fourteen People and a Dog - Brits in Rome, heard by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. Overload - A long evening with the Cleveland Orchestra, described by Suzanne Torrey
Ensemble. Cogent Achievements - Peter Maxwell Davies' tenth symphony and other British music, heard by Roderic Dunnett
Consummate Elegance - Mike Wheeler listens to Sarah Beth Briggs
CD Spotlight. Conscientious Objector - Unknown music by Benjamin Britten, heard by Gerald Fenech
CD Spotlight. Style and Imagination - Paul McCreesh's Christmas album, recommended by Keith Bramich. '... high-quality British Christmas music from the Gabrieli Consort ...'
Ensemble. Astonishing Vocal and Physical Power - Britten's 'Death in Venice', heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Tension and Restlessness - More Britten, with Finzi and Holst, from Derby Bach Choir, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Tragic Splendour - More Britten from Paul Daniel and the BBC Philharmonic, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Outstanding Productions - Opera North's Britten celebrations, with Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Last Gasp of Boyhood - Roderic Dunnett investigates Jubilee Opera's 'A Time There Was' for the Benjamin Britten centenary
Ensemble. Endearingly Oddball - British music from Derby Choral Union, including Britten's 'Rejoice in the Lamb', heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Vivid and Colourful - Two choirs join forces to celebrate the Britten anniversary, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Enterprisingly Apt - A wide-ranging recital by Janey Miller and Susie Summers, heard by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Sterling Work - Choral music by Imogen Holst, heard by Robert Anderson. '... a notable and much overdue act of piety.'
DVD Spotlight. Conviction and Passion - Britten's 'Peter Grimes' at Teatro alla Scala, reviewed by Howard Smith. '... a welcome centenary release.'
Ensemble. Exploring the Darker Side - Dan Miller and Richard Hodges at Derby's Festival of Britten, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. A Grand Sea Symphony? - Giuseppe Pennisi was at a concert performance in Rome of Britten's 'Peter Grimes'
CD Spotlight. Extremely Well-crafted - British music for oboe and strings, heard by Patric Standford. '... a particularly valuable contribution to the catalogue.'
Ensemble. A Generous Weekend - The third William Alwyn Festival, attended by Patric Standford
CD Spotlight. Deeply Affecting - Ian Bostridge sings Benjamin Britten, heard by Andrew Schartmann. '... Bostridge conveys the emotional content ... with unwavering conviction.'
Ensemble. A Pleasant Surprise - Fauré, Britten and Franck in Cleveland, heard by Suzanne Torrey
Ensemble. A Better Fit - Wagner and Britten in the Umbrian Hills, reported by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. Highest Accolades - Gerald Fenech enjoys his visit to Festival Maribor in Slovenia
Technique and Musicianship - Tony Westerman is impressed by the organ playing of Tom Corfield
Fresh Insights - Paul Kildea discusses work on his recent book about Britten, heard by Mike Wheeler
A Beethoven Sandwich - Malcolm Troup's recital, heard by Julian Jacobson, also featured Bloch and Britten
Ensemble. Deeply Moving - Britten's 'Curlew River' in Rome, experienced by Giuseppe Pennisi
A Thoughtful Account - Richard Uttley plays Beethoven, Grieg, Britten, Bartók, Debussy, Timothy Jackson, Liszt and Schumann, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Truly Powerful - Giuseppe Pennisi experiences Ravenna's first performance of Britten's 'The Rape of Lucretia'
CD Spotlight. Distinctive Skillfulness - Musical stories for narrator and orchestra, heard by Howard Smith. 'Prokofiev, Britten and Dukas slot together to vivid effect.'
Ensemble. Taking Risks - English Touring Opera's Autumn productions, reviewed by Roderic Dunnett
Ensemble. Exquisitely Floated - Soprano Catrin Woodruff joins the Derby Concert Orchestra, heard by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Bewitching Stuff - Symphonic poems for piano duet, recommended by Howard Smith. '... evocatively and thrillingly conveyed by Goldstone and Clemmow.'
Ensemble. The Finest of Them All - The 2012 Hereford Three Choirs Festival, reviewed by Roderic Dunnett
Ensemble. An Interesting Production - Britten's 'The Turn of the Screw', reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Mystery and Drama - Benjamin Britten's chamber opera 'The Turn of the Screw' opens the 55th Spoleto Festival, reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. Quite Different - Britten's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream', reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. On Confident Form - Derby Cathedral Choir marks the royal jubilee, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Dramatic Singing - 'Peter Grimes' live from Milan in HD, enjoyed by Maria Nockin
Ensemble. Engrossing and Moving - Giuseppe Pennisi was at La Scala for a new production of 'Peter Grimes'
Ensemble. Strength of Purpose - Nicholas Collon conducts Sinfonia Viva, heard by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. A Fine Partnership - Daniel Norman and Christopher Gould sing Britten, heard by Robert Anderson. '... the surest of touches ...'
CD Spotlight. Ferocious Virtuosity - Britten concertos, heard by Robert Anderson. '... worth rescuing ...'
Ensemble. Commitment and Energy - Sinfonia Viva contributes to the UK's 'Music Nation', reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Comedic Flair - Britten's 'Albert Herring', reviewed by Maria Nockin
CD Spotlight. Interpretatively Distinctive - Recent music for viola and piano, recommended by Howard Smith. '... keen, committed musicianship.'
Ensemble. Opera's Bright Future - Tom Taffinder reports from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama
Ensemble. Breezy Treatment - Familiar and unfamiliar music from The Sitwell Singers, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Fascinatingly Varied - The Eblana String Trio and David Curington at Derby Chamber Music, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
DVD Spotlight. Beyond Criticism - Paul Galbraith plays Mozart, Bach and Britten, recommended by Howard Smith. '... palpable, near-orchestral grandeur.'
Ensemble. To the Glory of God - Giuseppe Pennisi visits the Sagra Musicale Umbra, celebrating old and new continents
Ensemble. Exciting Teamwork - Roderic Dunnett was in Worcester for the 2011 Three Choirs Festival
Finest Attributes - Wigmore Hall recitals by Danny Driver, and by Jack Liebeck and Katya Apekisheva, admired by Bill Newman
CD Spotlight. Charming and Lively - Piano music by Ricky Ian Gordon, recommended by Robert Hugill. 'Nauman plays ... consummately ...'
CD Spotlight. A Choral Delight - The Antioch Chamber Ensemble, heard by Patric Standford. '... most valuable.'
Profile. Humanizing Emotions - American conductor James Conlon talks to Maria Nockin
Ensemble. Meticulously Handled - The Rivoli String Quartet, heard by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Haunting Beauty - Britten song cycles, heard by Robert Anderson. 'Nothing can detract from the magic ...'
Ensemble. Surprisingly Believable - Britten's 'The Turn of the Screw' impresses Maria Nockin
Ensemble. Different Couples - English Touring Opera's 'La Clemenza di Tito', reviewed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. A Real Triumph - The first Milan performance of Britten's 'Death in Venice' impresses Giuseppe Pennisi
CD Spotlight. Knowledge and Imagination - Lavinia Meijer plays recent music for harp, and impresses Paul Sarcich. '... an exceptional player ...'
Ensemble. Full of Delights - Nicola Benedetti and the European Union Chamber Orchestra, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Real Spirit - A Christmas offering from Derby Choral Union, heard by Mike Wheeler
An Eloquent Devotee - Ronald Stevenson's writings on Grainger, read by Robert Anderson
Ensemble. Brilliantly Dispatched - Ian McEwan and Michael Berkeley's 'For You', reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. Convincingly Pitched - Britten's 'The Turn of the Screw', heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Very Rewarding - The Derwent Singers, heard by Mike Wheeler
A Golden Treasury - Havergal Brian on European and American music, read by Patric Standford
Ensemble. Very Welcome - Robert Hugill experiences Stephen Oliver's 'Euridice'
Ensemble. Truly Fascinating - A Santa Fe Opera digest, including the recent Kaye Edition of 'The Tales of Hoffmann', by Maria Nockin
CD Spotlight. A Worthy Introduction - Song cycles and chamber music by Gareth Walters, heard by Patric Standford. '... deserves a firm place in the CD library.'
Ensemble. Performance to Cherish - Lawrence Budmen submits a further report from the Tanglewood Festival 2010
Ensemble. Impeccable Standards - Bill Newman's pick of June and July concerts at London's Wigmore Hall
Profile. The State of the Art - Maria Nockin talks to soprano Christine Brewer
Ensemble. Seventh Heaven - Christine Brewer and Craig Rutenberg's recital in Los Angeles, reviewed by Maria Nockin
Ensemble. In Complete Command - Britten's 'The Company of Heaven' and Renaissance Polyphony, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. A New Path - Music by Oliver Rudland, heard by Robert Anderson
Ensemble. Fine Tone - Derby Grammar School and High School Choral Society, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. In Full Voice - Britten's 'St Nicolas' at Canterbury Cathedral, enjoyed by Pippa Hare
Ensemble. A Double Farewell - Henze and Mahler in Rome, reported by Giuseppe Pennisi
DVD Spotlight. A Rarity - Jonathan Dove's 'The Adventures of Pinocchio', reviewed by Howard Smith. '... considerable merits on display ...'
Ensemble. A New Dimension - Giuseppe Pennisi reports that chamber opera is alive and well
Ensemble. A Fascinating Anthology - Music on the theme of angels, heard by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Lyric Warmth - Jennifer Larmore sings Barber, Berlioz, Ravel and Britten, recommended by Howard Smith. '... a compelling disc ...'
Ensemble. Alert Playing - A recital for oboe and harp, heard by Mike Wheeler
Nicely Judged - A recital by harpist Anneleen Lenaerts impresses Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Expertly Structured - Mike Wheeler was at a song recital by Richard Roddis and Philip Robinson
The Philosophy of Absence - Jennifer Paull investigates four releases of Cage's Number Pieces
Highly Articulate - American dramatic soprano Christine Brewer talks to Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Sing ye to the Lord - Roderic Dunnett was at the 2009 Hereford Three Choirs Festival
A Real Find - Robert Davies made a remarkable impact when he stood in as Papageno late in the run of English Touring Opera's 'The Magic Flute'; Roderic Dunnett profiles him and celebrates the progress of other ETO cast members
A Useful Survey - Thomas May's 'The John Adams Reader', reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Excellent Throughout - A lunchtime piano recital by Maiko Mori, heard by Bill Newman
Ensemble. Coherently Brilliant - Robert Hugill was at the opening performance of English National Opera's 'Peter Grimes'
Ensemble. Unique Sonorities - Britten's Peter Grimes, heard by Maria Nockin
Ensemble. An Eloquent Performance - Music from the Richard Roddis Singers and the Helix Ensemble, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Perfection - Benjamin Britten folksong arrangements, recommended by Howard Smith. '... this release is worth several times it's weight in gold.'
Ensemble. Outstanding Performance - A San Diego performance of Verdi's 'Rigoletto' impresses Maria Nockin
Record Box. Haunted Loneliness - Orchestral music by Benjamin Britten, heard by Patric Standford
Record Box. Stirring Performances - String chamber music by Imogen Holst, recommended by Gerald Fenech
A Stressful Collaboration - Gerard Schurmann describes his involvement with the music score for 'Lawrence of Arabia'
CD Spotlight. Pride of Place - Piano music by Frank Bridge, praised by Howard Smith. 'A standing ovation for Mark Bebbington ...'
Record Box. A Rewarding Experience - Music from The Phoenix Chorale impresses Patric Standford
DVD Spotlight. Understandably Controversial - Derek Jarman's 'War Requiem', reviewed by Howard Smith. '... cutting room virtuosity.'
Ensemble. Drama and Bite - A concert by the Op 3 piano trio, reviewed by Malcolm Miller
Record Box. Wit and Energy - Music for piano and orchestra by Benjamin Britten, enjoyed by Robert Anderson
Ensemble. A Wonderful Experience - Maria Nockin visits Santa Fe for operas by Verdi, Mozart, Britten and Handel, plus the first American performance of Kaija Saariaho's 'Adriana Mater'
Ensemble. Propulsive Energy - Sinfonia Viva at the Buxton Festival, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Sleep and Dreams - Mike Wheeler listens to Britten's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'
Ensemble. Nicely Caught - A song recital by Richard Roddis and Clive Pollard, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Record Box. Family and Friends - Sara Botkin's Christmas collection, reviewed by Patric Standford
Ensemble. Points of Contact - Choral music by Britten and Finzi from the Derwent Singers, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. On Fine Form - Jeremy Hagan and the Derby Concert Orchestra, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Taut Austere Passion - Music with a Britten and Auden connection, performed by John Lofthouse and Stephen Rose, and reviewed by Malcolm Miller
Ensemble. Much to Enjoy - A concert by the Philharmonia of the Nations, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Splendidly Wide-ranging - The Sitwell Singers' Christmas concert, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Passionate Sympathy - Another take on Opera North's 'Peter Grimes', by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. An Electrifying Production - Verdi's 'Rigoletto' from Opera North, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. A Spectacular Portrayal - Opera North's 'Peter Grimes', reviewed by Patric Standford
Ensemble. Revisiting with Pleasure - Summer at Longborough Festival Opera, enjoyed by Roderic Dunnett
Record Box. Enterprising Recordings - Music for piano and orchestra, reviewed by Patric Standford
Ensemble. Sparkling Performances - Yvonne Kenny and Iain Burnside at London's Wigmore Hall, reviewed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Velvety Textures - Malcolm Miller enjoys Voces8 in London's new Foundling Museum Lunchtime Series
Record box. An appealing programme - Mahler, Schumann and Britten, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Physical and Spiritual - Music on the theme of journeys, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Bitter strength - Orchestral music by Benjamin Britten, recommended by Ron Bierman. '... outstanding performances.'
Ensemble. Telling contributions - Carols from Derby Cathedral, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. A gripping evening - 'Billy Budd' at English National Opera, reviewed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Striking sonorities - Twentieth-century British music, sung by Derby Choral Union, and reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Pervasive influence - A return visit to London by the Verdehr Trio, reviewed by Peter Dickinson
Record box. Accomplished playing - Kumiko Ida's British piano album, appreciated by Patric Standford
Useful insights - Daniel Felsenfeld's book 'Samuel Barber and Benjamin Britten. Their lives and their music', reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Exquisite finesse - A song recital by Andrew Kennedy and Simon Lepper impresses Roderic Dunnett
CD Spotlight. A versatile performer - Daphna Cohen-Licht's recital disc 'Emotional Turbulence', reviewed by Robert Hugill. '... Cohen-Licht gives full reign to the drama ...'
Lasting friendships - Roderic Dunnett looks back to a glorious weekend celebrating Gerald Finzi and English Song in Ludlow with the Finzi Friends, and hopes for another next year
CD Spotlight. Often ravishing - Music by Debussy, Prokofiev, Britten and Ravel, reviewed by Robert Anderson. '... admirably encompassed ...'
DVD Spotlight. Gripping performance - 'The Turn of the Screw', reviewed by Robert Anderson. '... splendidly captured musically and visually ...'
Profile. Letting the music grow - A conversation with Dan Locklair, by Carson Cooman
Ensemble. Admirably involving - Tau Wey at the 2004 Regent Hall Summer Festival, reviewed by Malcolm Miller
CD Spotlight. Hope and fear - Berg and Britten violin concertos, reviewed by Robert Anderson. '... a violinist of superb accomplishment ...'
Ensemble. Hauntingly beautiful - Britten's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' at the London Coliseum, reviewed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Misunderstood? - 'Peter Grimes' at Covent Garden, reviewed by Robert Hugill
Premature conclusions? - Alistair Hinton replies to Robert Hugill on the subject of composers and sexuality
Ensemble. The thinnest tightrope - David Wilkins at the Hungarian première of Britten's 'The Turn of the Screw'
Ensemble. Congress of passions - The Finchley Choral Society Centenary Concert, reviewed by Keith Bramich
CD Spotlight. Single voice - Music for unaccompanied oboe, reviewed by Jennifer Paull. '... a masterful performance.'
Violin Master - Gordon Rumson reports on a rare Carnegie Hall appearance of Mark Lubotsky
A star is reborn - BBC Legends, passing its one hundredth release, is appreciated by John Bell Young
Ensemble. A haunting future - Roderic Dunnett praises two recent productions at newly restored Grange Park Opera
Ensemble - Truly chilling. David Thompson listens to Britten's 'War Requiem' in London
Subtle colours - Malcolm Miller reports on a choice programme of English choral music in London
Record Box - Manners of clothing - At ease with the sacred, with Basil Ramsey