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

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 […]

New collection: Heather Harper’s papers

Monday December 7 2020

The Britten Pears Archive was delighted to receive in September the papers of Belfast-born soprano Heather Harper. We are pleased to be able to continue adding to our archives during the current pandemic but receiving a substantial new collection at this time was not an easy matter. I arranged to meet the depositor in a […]

Jennifer Vyvyan and Benjamin Britten

Thursday November 26 2020

A new website has recently been launched to commorate the soprano Jennifer Vyvyan. To mark this new resource for information on her life and career, we feature some material from our own collection that highlights her important connection with Britten. Jennifer Vyvyan made her debut with the recently-formed English Opera Group in May 1948, taking […]

November Words

Tuesday November 17 2020

‘A sad tale’s best for winter,’ Mamillius tells us in The Winter’s Tale. As the weather becomes chillier, the days shorten, and we deal with the rigours of lockdown we can all take consolation, as we have throughout the COVID crisis, in music.  Britten certainly found that to be the case when the darkness of […]

Archive Treasures: Britten, Grainger and a Birthday Gift

Monday November 16 2020

As we approach Britten’s 107th birthday a tale from the Archive tells us of a birthday gift that was not only practical, but which also carried great personal meaning for the composer. ‘Lovingly and reverently dedicated to the memory of Percy Grainger’ is how Britten worded his dedication to the Suite on English Folk Tunes, op. […]

Basil Coleman papers catalogued

Monday November 9 2020

The papers of Basil Coleman have been newly catalogued and are now available to researchers. Details of the collection’s contents can be found on our online catalogue. The papers represent the life of a noted opera, theatre, and television director, who was an essential part of the Britten story and a pioneer of television operas. […]

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