I found the following documentary remarkable and quite interesting. Without offering here any opinion on its merits, I certainly give it credit for taking an unpopular position and sticking with it. This blog is no stranger to challenging perceived wisdom, although I usually aim to be slightly more subtle (some may argue I do not always succeed). Here is an excerpt from the opening:

 The fishing village of Aldeburgh, home and inspiration to Benjamin Britten, England’s finest 20th century composer, or so it’s widely claimed. In fact, much of what he wrote in the sycophantic, closed world of Aldeburgh was anaemic, and loveless; spiritually dead long before he was buried here in 1976.

I’m not entirely sure what the academic consensus about Britten is nowadays (if any exists). I do appreciate some of his smaller scale choral works. I wouldn’t say that Britten’s work is played excessively in relation to its merit in the US, but possibly things are different in London.

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4 Responses to J’accuse!

  1. Yemon Choi says:

    I believe the documentary series was one that set out to be contrarian: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0456786/episodes?ref_=tt_eps_yr_mr

    • This certainly what is conveyed by the title! But thanks for linking to the series, since I didn’t know what other topics they had covered. (First impressions from the titles: Laurence Olivier: ripe for the picking; Mozart: tough ask.)

      • Artie Prendergast-Smith says:

        I offer the following without comment:

        _Janet Street-Porter takes the Internet to task, claiming its main use is to provide an occupation for boring, inadequate and socially inept people._

  2. jessemckeown says:

    The “Sea Interludes” are lovely; but I think both Holst and Elgar are more interesting, most of the time. If I understand correctly, Britten shared some pains with Aaron Copland, but Britten chose to use his music for polemic about it, while Copland simply tried to write good American music — and I think Copland succeeds better, there, too.

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