Jennifer Vyvyan and Benjamin Britten

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. […]

Archive Treasures: Britten’s centenary archive

Tuesday November 3 2020

To celebrate Britten’s 50th birthday in 1963 many of Britten’s friends and colleagues contributed to the volume ‘Tribute to Benjamin Britten on his Fiftieth Birthday’ edited by Anthony Gishford and published by Faber and Faber. For this birthday gift, Gishford asked contributors for ‘something that they themselves liked and that they thought would give the […]

Archive Treasures: Young Men and Fast Cars

Monday October 19 2020

What if…? The archive at the Red House documents, in remarkable detail, the lives and careers of Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears. Perhaps less obviously, it documents a whole parallel universe of the works that Britten did not compose: the ideas that were abandoned and the projects that were aborted. The archive, then, is a […]

Lockdown Accessions

Friday October 2 2020

Our Archive has been fortunate to be able to continue receiving items to add to the collections during the 2020 pandemic. As people sorted through their cupboards and drawers, decluttering their houses during lockdown, some discovered old programmes, photographs, magazines and letters which they have now kindly passed on to us. These are mostly items […]

Archive Treasures: Britten and The Tempest

Monday September 7 2020

We know several stories about Britten being lured back to write for the big screen. Few such tales straddled the decades like that of his hope to work with John Gielgud on a film version of The Tempest. During the mid-1950s Gielgud discussed with Peter Brook a possible production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. He wrote […]

Archive Treasures: Britten’s wheelchair

Tuesday September 1 2020

In 1975 Benjamin Britten was a sick man: two years before he had suffered a stroke in the course of an operation to replace a failing heart valve, and his health had never fully recovered. His mobility was restricted, and he was physically fragile. He, and those around him, seem to have felt that he […]

Archive Treasures: Music manuscript for Britten’s Piano Concerto

Monday August 24 2020

Our archive preserves thousands of Britten’s music manuscripts from his juvenilia – his earliest notes written from the age of five – to his unfinished Praise We Great Men. Numerous treasures from every stage of the composition process – from first sketches to published editions. However, the full score fair copy of Britten’s Piano Concerto […]

Julian Bream (1933-2020)

Wednesday August 19 2020

Guitarist, lutenist, communicator, source of inspiration: Julian Bream was a musician who fulfilled a number of important roles. He spent most of his eighty-seven years as an advocate for the classical guitar. He played a considerable part in the instrument’s renaissance during his lifetime as a player and commissioner of new works. Bream’s artistry took […]