Archive Treasures: A year in pictures

Archive Treasures: A year in pictures

Friday June 4 2021

In our archive is a wonderful photograph album that Britten put together from 1935 to 1936, pasting in photographs and writing captions. It is fascinating looking through this album. I feel as if I am travelling back to a different era as I peer into the small black and white photographs. There are some great […]

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 […]

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