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
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