Archive Treasures: Young composers and ancient carols

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 […]

Archive Treasures: Letters from an American in London

Monday November 30 2020

In October 1951 American baritone Theodor (‘Ted’) Uppman arrived in England to begin rehearsing the title role in Britten’s new opera Billy Budd with the premiere scheduled for 1st December. During his stay Uppman wrote regularly to his wife Jean back home in North Hollywood and we are fortunate that Uppman’s family has given these […]

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 […]

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 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: 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 […]

Archive Treasures: Joan Cross’ wartime cast books

Monday August 3 2020

Joan Cross began her operatic career in 1923 when she joined the chorus of the Vic-Wells Opera Company, then throughout the 1930s she enjoyed success as one of the leading sopranos of the Sadler’s Wells Opera Company taking on a wide range of solo roles. In September 1940 Sadler’s Wells Theatre was requisitioned by Finsbury […]

Britten, Evans, Crozier and Pears outside Crag House in Crabbe Street, Aldeburgh, late 1947

Acquisition of the Month: August 2019

Tuesday September 17 2019

In August the Archive was delighted to receive an addition to its collections 180 letters sent from producer and librettist Eric Crozier to his wife, mezzo-soprano Nancy Evans. From the early 1940s until the early 1950s, Crozier and Evans were central and influential figures in Britten and Pears’ lives. Crozier produced the first productions of […]

Festival Preview

Thursday June 7 2018

Lucy Walker presents a guide to our events and exhibitions that will complement this year’s Aldeburgh Festival.

Bridge and Britten

Friday April 27 2018

A short series of concerts starts today exploring the connection between Britten and his first composition teacher, Frank Bridge (Britten began lessons with him aged only 14, and they continued for nearly 3 years). Chamber and vocal music by both composers will be performed over the course of the three recitals, including Britten’s String Quartet […]