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Biography and Musical Legacy of Benjamin Britten – a Great Music Composer

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Music composer, Edward Benjamin Britten, started his music creativity at age two. He composed opera masterpieces and vocal music during the 20th century. He was born on November 22, 1913 in England and lived for sixty-three years until congestive heart failure took his life. When Britten was younger he had a damaged heart because he had pneumonia. He started paying attention to music when his mother would sing. His father did not support him in his musical talent and was not allowed to have a radio in the house. He wrote his first play at six years old.

The play was called The Royal Family. He also loved school and his favorite subject was math. Benjamin Britten was the youngest in his family of four. He had one brother and two older sisters. He loved playing the piano and had been playing it since he was two. At ten years old, he felt like playing the viola and he got lessons from his mother’s friend that was a professional musician. When he was around fourteen years old, his viola teacher helped him meet an English composer named Frank Bridge. Britten visited London frequently to receive music lessons from Bridge. After grammar school, he received a scholarship to attend the Royal College of Music in London. While in London he attended many concerts and was influenced by Mahler, Ireland, Shostakovich, and Stravinsky. One of Britten’s best opera composition is called Peter Grimes. The story is about a fisherman named Peter Grimes who is accused by his community of killing his apprentice. The community does not want to give him another chance and the story continues with him against the community. Ultimately Peter’s fishing boat is found sunken and it is assumed that he died when it sank. Britten also composed War Requiem. He was asked to compose a piece for a ceremony that unveiled the new Coventry Cathedral. The first Coventry Cathedral was left in ruins after the Battle of Britain in World War II. With this composition, he tried to make a statement on anti-war. Britten grew up in England but didn’t go to the US until 1939. When he came back from the US he made a new song called Rejoice in the Lamb.

The song was written for St. Matthew’s Church in Northampton’s 50th anniversary. Britten was a musically talented composer and was appointed a member of the life peers in the UK. Even though he struggled with the same issues that some of us have today, such as, the lack of support from family and a medical issue in his early years that was persistent throughout his life, some people believe he re-energized opera during his years of composition.

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Biography and Musical Legacy of Benjamin Britten – a Great Music Composer. (2020, April 30). GradesFixer. Retrieved November 27, 2022, from
“Biography and Musical Legacy of Benjamin Britten – a Great Music Composer.” GradesFixer, 30 Apr. 2020,
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