Archive Treasures: Baron Britten of Aldeburgh’s Letters patent

Archive Treasures: Baron Britten of Aldeburgh’s Letters patent

Friday April 23 2021

Britten’s first prize was awarded to him at South Lodge School in 1927, aged 13, for badminton. He bought 4 miniature scores with the prize money: Haydn Symphony no. 2, as well as Beethoven Symphony no. 1 and String Quartets nos. 2 and 3. Britten went on to receive many more awards and honours, although […]

Archive Treasures: Music, travel, tennis and 1930s emojis

Friday April 9 2021

The correspondence in Benjamin Britten’s archive is extensive: over eleven thousand files, including both letters to Britten and those from him. The range of correspondents and subjects is huge: professional exchanges with record companies, promoters and people commissioning works, fan mail, political and social agitation, and personal letters exchanged with friends and family. A core […]

Archive Treasures: Geoffrey Burgon, Britten, Brideshead, Blake and Pears

Friday March 26 2021

What links the composer of the evocative TV theme for Brideshead Revisited to The Red House? The composer Geoffrey Burgon may be best known for his work in television and cinema. Among his credits are the scores for Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979) and, by contrast, the haunting theme for the 1985 film Turtle […]

Archive Treasures: ‘the loveliest present that has ever happened’ – the gift of a concert to Imogen Holst

Friday March 12 2021

In July 1942 Imogen Holst received a wonderful letter from a group of friends proposing to organise a concert of her works in London as a thank you gift. Holst was at this time recovering from overwork and exhaustion and this thoughtful gesture would no doubt have raised her spirits.  In January 1940 Holst had begun work as a ‘Music Traveller’. She was one of six musicians and educators, mostly women, selected to travel […]

Archive Treasures: A Spiritual Home – Britten, Pears and The Red House

Friday February 26 2021

The former homes of famous people are referred to, variously, as ‘house museums’ or ‘personality houses’. They are effectively physical ‘biographies’, telling the stories of the well-known former occupant(s) and presenting the physical traces of their habitation to the visiting public. In the case of The Red House in Aldeburgh, Britten and Pears’ final home, […]

Archive Treasures: Browsing the Bookshelves – Reading Britten and Pears

Friday February 12 2021

Close inspection of the bookshelves in The Red House reveals a number of volumes that must have had special resonance for Britten and Pears. These titles come under the category of ‘gay literature,’ though they were part of The Red House library well before that term gained common usage. What is interesting is that, whether […]

Archive Treasures: Love in the accounts

Thursday February 4 2021

The archive at The Red House spans all aspects of Britten and Pears’ lives together – from their professional activities, the compositions and performances that made them world famous, to the everyday details of their household here.  Every scrap of paper tells a story – and they kept virtually everything.  The story of their long relationship, the […]

Archive Treasures: East meets West in the Archive

Thursday January 21 2021

Rostropovich, Menuhin, Richter – asked to compile a list of musicians who worked with Britten and Pears, there are some obvious names. Likewise, asked to name Western musicians who explored Indian culture in the 1960s, most people would come up with names from the world of rock music. Less well known is the way that […]

Archive Treasures: Young composers and ancient carols

Monday December 14 2020

In August 1918 Gustav Holst gave his 11 year old daughter a volume of Christmas carols which Imogen treasured all her life and now forms part of her collection of papers and manuscripts held in our archive. The volume is entitled Ancient English Christmas Carols 1400-1700, collected and arranged by Edith Rickert and published by […]

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