My Beloved Man: the letters of Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears
Thursday July 14 2016
“It’s a life of the two of us”
We are delighted to announce the publication of the complete correspondence between Benjamin Britten and his partner Peter Pears. Appearing together for the first time, this collection of 365 letters, written over their 39-year relationship, finally fulfils Pears’s wish: to allow him and Britten to tell their own story, in their words.
Actor and Director Fiona Shaw, author of the book’s Foreword, comments: ‘To read these letters is to climb up a wall and peer into the secret garden of two giants.’
While the correspondence provides valuable evidence of the development of Britten’s works, more significant is the insight into his relationship with Pears and their day-to-day life together. Entertaining to read, domestic and intimate, the letters provide glimpses of cultural and artistic life in the twentieth century, including pacifism and conscientious objection, critical assessments of music and other artists, transport and communications development in the twentieth century, the ‘Aldeburgh corpses’, art collecting, gossip, everyday life in an English country house, the development of the Aldeburgh Festival, performance practice in early music, looking after dachshunds, travel, and a host of other topics. Above all, when read together, Britten and Pears’ letters allow the clearest possible look ‘behind the scenes’ of one of the most productive creative partnerships of the twentieth century.
The book is edited by Vicki P. Stroeher (Professor of Music History at Marshall University), Nicholas Clark (Librarian at the Britten-Pears Foundation) and Jude Brimmer (Archivist at the Britten-Pears Foundation).