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Britten, Benjamin (1913–1976)

  1. Mark W. Hamilton

Published Online: 25 NOV 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470670606.wbecc0192

The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization

How to Cite

Hamilton, M. W. 2011. Britten, Benjamin (1913–1976). The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 25 NOV 2011


Benjamin Britten was an innovative and acclaimed composer of operas, concerti, symphonies, movie scores, and song cycles, among other forms. He studied at the Royal College of Music with Arthur Benjamin and John Ireland, graduating in 1932. After traveling and composing, he began work writing film scores in 1935 at the General Post Office Film Unit, where he met his sometime collaborator W. H. Auden. He scored two dozen movies between 1935 and 1939. From 1939 to 1942 he lived in North America with his lifelong partner, the tenor Peter Pears, continuing to compose.


  • Britten, Benjamin (1913–1976);
  • composer of operas, concerti, symphonies;
  • Britten's pacifism and homosexuality;
  • Britten's interest in the outsider, and hostility;
  • form of hymns for saints’ days, “hymn to St. Cecilia”;
  • religious, secular texts in war requiem, Peter Grimes;
  • gamelan music, in the prince of the pagodas;
  • Britten's music, and music of the far east;
  • conventions of Japanese no theater, in curlew river