Benjamin Britten was one of the greatest composers of the twentieth century. He wrote a feast of music from an early age, first achieving international fame in 1945 with his opera Peter Grimes; now more operas by Britten are performed worldwide than by any other composer born in the twentieth century. In this incisive guide, John Bridcut discusses Britten's music and explores his musical influences, his complex personality, his emotional and professional relationships, and the fascinating nooks and crannies of his daily life, normally overlooked. An indispensable source of fresh insights into this towering figure in British music, this is an updated edition of the Faber Pocket Guide to Britten, including the full text of Britten's speech On Receiving the First Aspen Award.
John Bridcut is a documentary director for British television. He has had a lifelong enthusiasm for English music , and his feature-length films Britten's Children (2004) and The Passions of Vaughan Williams (2008) have won awards. He is currently working on a portrait of Elgar. In 2008, he produced a BBC documentary Charles at 60: The Passionate Prince for the BBC. Other film subjects have included Rudolf Nureyev, Roald Dahl, Hillary Clinton, and the Queen. His two books, Britten's Children and The Faber Pocket Guide to Britten, were published in 2006 and 2010 respectively.