Britten had a lifelong interest in film – as a consumer, a composer, and a supporter of his local cinema. This short film explores the importance of film to Britten throughout his life, and includes extracts of his own music written to accompany documentaries at the General Post Office Film Unit. We also mark the 100th birthday of Aldeburgh Cinema, which Britten keenly supported in the 1960s onwards.

With grateful thanks to NMC for the extracts of The King’s Stamp and Coal Face from Britten on Film (NMC112, 2007). You can find the recording here.

Other extracts are performed by students at the Birmingham Conservatoire, conducted by Lionel Friend (recorded in 2012).

Further resources

Watch one of the GPO’s most famous films Night Mail, with music by Britten and poetry by WH Auden on the BFI player here.