martedì 25 novembre 2008

Alla corte di Britten

Ian Bostridge

"O dear, o dear, how I sometimes wish I were respectable & dead, & that people wouldn’t get so cross.” Benjamin Britten is now dead (he would have been ninety-five this month), and, if the ubiquity of his music is a measure, highly respected if not quite respectable. Go to the Britten–Pears Foundation website and a calendar of performances shows several live performances of Britten works, large and small, every day of the year, all over the world. Most of his works have never been out of the recorded catalogue. Of the generation of classical composers who came to maturity in the wake of the Second World War, he is the flagship, the emblem, the victor. Yet, and in the face of music which is heartfelt, embedded in the great tradition, largely consonant, while at the same time avoiding kitsch or ironic reworking – in other words music with its own confident voice – he remains curiously unloved. Suspected for his supposedly pederastic leanings – an issue which John Bridcut has brilliantly reconfigured in his book and television documentary Britten’s Children, recognizing the desire not to abuse but to remain a child which lay at the heart of Britten’s imagination – he is also presented as a twisted figure, with his “corpses” (friends and associates who lost favour) and his fawning court.
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