Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Benjamin Britten: A Life in the Twentieth Century” as Want to Read:
Benjamin Britten: A Life in the Twentieth Century
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Benjamin Britten: A Life in the Twentieth Century

4.29  ·  Rating Details ·  41 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
In the eyes of many, Benjamin Britten was our finest composer since Purcell (a figure who often inspired him) three hundred years earlier. He broke decisively with the romantic, nationalist school of figures such as Parry, Elgar and Vaughan Williams and recreated English music in a fresh, modern, European form. With Peter Grimes (1945), Billy Budd (1951) and The Turn of ...more
Hardcover, 688 pages
Published February 7th 2013 by Allen Lane (first published January 28th 2013)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Benjamin Britten, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Benjamin Britten

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Paul
Dec 04, 2016 Paul rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
This is an excellent and very readable biography of one of the great British composers. Britten is still something of an enigma and contradiction; a difficult subject, just as he could be difficult in real life. Quintessentially English, he seemed to be part of the establishment, yet he was hated by many parts of the establishment. He was a pacifist and totally anti-war; spending the first two years of the war in the US. He was gay and made no pretence of heterosexuality by getting married like ...more
Bettie☯


Blurb: Paul Kildea's major biography of the twentieth-century composer, Benjamin Britten, is published in the year that marks his centenary.

In this vivid portrait of the composer, Paul Kildea explores the private and creative life of the man who composed operas that have entered the popular consciousness as well as the musical canon. These include, Peter Grimes, Billy Budd and The Turn of the Screw. Kildea also explores his forty-year complex relationship with Peter Pears for whom Britten create
...more
Laura
Feb 08, 2013 Laura rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Bettie, CArey
From BBC Radio 4 - Book of the Week:
Biography of the English composer by Paul Kildea

Lyle
Aug 10, 2016 Lyle rated it really liked it
Page 425
They gave press conferences (asked the difference between The Rape of Lucretia and TheTurn of the Screw by a keen reporter, he mischievously replied, "the notes are the same, but they are in a different order."

Page 430
[Alma Mahler] 17 years later in response to Britten's request to dedicate Nocturne to her, she telegraphed the composer: 'my happiness is enormous I cannot feel or think of anything else my deepest thanks.'

Page 370
He filled his fountain pen with black ink so the score coul
...more
Tim
Mar 25, 2014 Tim rated it it was amazing
Does a really brilliant job of living up to the promise of the subtitle, that is, of situating Britten's life amongst the composers and other artists of the twentieth century. It is also excellent at creating a portrait of a composer the author obviously admires, without descending into hagiography. In fact, the Britten that is on show here doesn't come across as a particularly nice or admirable person, though I must say, I ended up with more sympathy for him by the end than I had about halfway ...more
Lorna
Jan 28, 2015 Lorna rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I own both the Humphrey Carpenter biography and now the Kildea biography of Britten. I wouldn't be without either one. Kildea has the advantage of added documentation being available for his research. Kildea's biography provides more information on the artistic life and organizations within which and for whom Britten composed and performed. Carpenter's biography leans more towards a psychological study of Britten and his relationships. Both are compelling reading.
Rj
Feb 16, 2014 Rj rated it really liked it
Bernstein..."When you hear Britten's music, if you really hear it, not just listen to it superficially you become aware of something dark. There are gears that are grinding and not quite meshing, and they make great pain." 14
Schopflin
Jul 27, 2015 Schopflin rated it really liked it
Shelves: finished-in-2015
An excellent big, thick meaty biography of a complex human being. I didn't agree with all of Kildea's opinions but found it very moving in the end.
Simon King
Simon King rated it it was amazing
Jun 09, 2014
Dunx
Dunx rated it really liked it
Apr 07, 2015
Robin
Robin rated it really liked it
Mar 05, 2014
Shannon Polson
Shannon Polson rated it really liked it
Sep 21, 2015
Ben
Ben rated it it was amazing
Nov 21, 2015
Daniel
Daniel rated it it was amazing
Nov 03, 2014
GLC
GLC rated it really liked it
May 13, 2014
Joshua Parman
Joshua Parman rated it really liked it
Jan 05, 2014
John
John rated it it was amazing
Nov 02, 2014
Vincent Centeno
Vincent Centeno rated it it was amazing
Jul 10, 2016
Michelle
Michelle rated it really liked it
May 22, 2013
Mark Newton
Mark Newton rated it really liked it
Feb 17, 2013
Jon Turner
Jon Turner rated it liked it
Mar 25, 2016
Elizabeth A Moore
Elizabeth A Moore rated it really liked it
May 15, 2014
Peter Campbell
Peter Campbell rated it it was amazing
Apr 08, 2016
Johnny [Shakedown]
Johnny [Shakedown] rated it liked it
May 16, 2014
Murray
Murray rated it really liked it
Oct 20, 2013
Madkindle
Madkindle rated it really liked it
Sep 21, 2014
Stuart Woollard
Stuart Woollard rated it really liked it
Feb 12, 2016
Alec Whiting
Alec Whiting rated it it was amazing
Jan 30, 2016
Jim Lochner
Jim Lochner rated it it was amazing
Aug 16, 2014
Danielle
Danielle rated it really liked it
Oct 25, 2015
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Share This Book