The real musicians are so few and far between, aren't they? Apart from the Bergs, Stravinskys, Schönbergs and Bridges one is a bit stumped for names, isn't one? This is what wrote the young Britten, a student at the Royal College of Music in London, the author of numerous songs and instrumental pieces, and most importantly one of those true musicians who are ‘few and far between’.
To this day many people in Russia remember his visits. Music teachers at the Moscow Conservatory even now reminisce about the concert at which Peter Pears sang Britten's songs accompanied by the composer himself. Memoirs written by Britten's friends (for instance Imogen Holst) give an overall impression of a sociable, cheerful composer who truly enjoyed the creative process. In the words of those closest to him, he seemed to radiate music. Britten was born in England in 1913 on the North Sea coast (in the county of Suffolk) and many of his compositions, from earlysongs to the late operas, are filled with depictions of the aquatic elements. His mother was the secretary of a choral society and music was often played or sung at home (his father even felt reluctant to buy a radio or record player, fearing that live music would no longer be heard in their family circle). One of the budding composer's first teachers was Frank Bridge, whom Britten idolised. Bridge was a forbidding character, and from the first few exercises he tried to instil perfectionism. One of his teaching techniques was to make Britten go to the far end of the room, play what the boy had composed and ask if that had been his initial intention.