PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
News and Notes
PNR266 Now Available
The latest issue of PN Review is now available to read online. read more
Most Read... Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Tim Parksin conversation with Natalia Ginzburg
(PN Review 49)
M. Wynn ThomasThe Other Side of the Hedge
(PN Review 239)
Jamie OsbornIn conversation with Sasha Dugdale
(PN Review 240)
Drew MilneTom Raworth’s Writing ‘present past improved’: Tom Raworth’s Writing
(PN Review 236)
Next Issue Stav Poleg Running Between Languages Jeffrey Meyers on Mr W.H. (Auden) Miles Burrows The Critic as Cleaning Lady Timothy Ades translates Brecht, Karen Leeder translates Ulrike Almut Sandig
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PNR 250 Poetry Archive Banner
PN Review New Issue

This review is taken from PN Review 214, Volume 40 Number 2, November - December 2013.

Still Listening neil powell, Benjamin Britten: A Life for Music (Hutchinson) £25

This last summer in Britain found Britten just about everywhere, and the rather tiresome pun was bandied about again the way it had been during the war when people complained that the composer had fled, along with Auden and Isherwood, The Battle of. But in his centenary year, Britten was not vilified - whether as pacifist, homosexual, or exile - but celebrated as the national composer he eventually became, even as the monument that no artist ever wants to be lest the pigeons leave their droppings on his head in the public square. In Aldeburgh, banners proclaimed that 'Britten Lives Here', and indeed his music did - lots of it, even Peter Grimes on the beach which, for the dress rehearsal anyway, admitted for free the locals who live in that seaside town the year round, not just at festival time. The memorabilia was a bit much: you could buy a full festival-themed tea set along with matched Benjy and Peter cuff links. And of course plenty of CDs. As in the old days, there were performances in Orford church as well as the Snape Maltings concert hall, and one could find oneself sitting next to quite pleasant and modest celebrities. I had Heather Harper to my left at a dinner, Ian Bostridge just in front of me at a concert. But this reviewer has to admit that he loves the festival, and Britten's music as well. A poet acquaintance mumbled to me at one event that 'Britten is too English'. Not for me, but I understand. As a Yank ...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image