By Graham Elliott
The significance of "the issues religious" in Britten's paintings has lengthy been missed. In his booklet Graham Elliott examines this significance in his research of the composer's selection and therapy of topics, and his use of musical influences-- particularly plainsong--which have an immediate organization with spirituality.
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Extra info for Benjamin Britten: The Spiritual Dimension (Oxford Studies in British Church Music)
11 Despite the attempts of some commentators to see Britten as a repressed person who hid himself in the remote Suffolk ﬁshing community where he could live surrounded and protected by tried and trusted friends of whom he demanded high standards of loyalty and devotion, we should, in truth, see a man who was aware of his gifts and to use these gifts for the beneﬁt of his fellow men. His carefully regulated routine was organized in order that he might have the circumstances necessary to allow his gifts to have full and productive use.
21 Letter from Hans Keller to the author dated 31 August 1983. 5 Summary The life and work of Benjamin Britten are remarkably well documented in a wide variety of articles and books. It would be surprising if such a vast amount of material did not contain a good deal of speculation on the subject of the composer’s personality and motivation, and about the non-musical forces in his life. Those who wrote commentaries during Britten’s lifetime were careful to avoid any direct reference to his homosexuality.
13 With the beneﬁt of hindsight this letter appears remarkably prophetic of the underlying tensions which are explored in Britten’s ﬁnal opera, Death in Venice. There is, in fact, much in the remainder of the letter which shows a great affection on Auden’s part for Britten, but it would be hard for its sensitive recipient to avoid feeling that he was receiving an end-of-term report from his headmaster. It has already been suggested (Chapter 3, page 14) that the 1930s was a period when Britten, reaching early professional maturity, was forced to re-examine the received views and attitudes of his childhood.