An important series of 8 Autograph Letters Signed

Britten, Benjamin, English composer, conductor, and pianist (1913-1976). 8 autograph (7 lettercards and 1 letter) signed ("Ben").

Apparently Aldeburgh, Suffolk, ca. 1969.

Oblong (small) 8vo. 16 pages on 8 ff. All with printed letterhead.


Interesting, apparently unpublished correspondence detailing Britten's collaboration with the Revd. Kenneth Sherlock (1901-90), rector of St Bartholomew's Church, Orford, in Woodbridge, Suffolk, where all three "Parables for Church Performance" ("Curlew River", "The Burning Fiery Furnace", and "The Prodigal Son") were performed. Britten is very warm in tone to Sherlock and, in a number of letters, alludes to his declining health, which continued to deteriorate until his death in 1976.

1) A somewhat philosophical letter about Russia, the Russian people and the human spirit generally and further mentioning a forthcoming tour of Germany and Austria. 2 pp. On headed paper ("The Red House, Aldeburgh, Suffolk").

The remainder on personalised correspondence cards.

2+3) About Curlew River: "It was wonderful being able to do Curlew River in your wonderful church […] I'm just off to Holland, after having whizzed up north with Rostropovich […]"; "It is lovely that Curlew River can be back where it belongs in 1965!".

4) Mentioning "The Prodigal Son": "All goes well here now - only a lot of patience is needed! Don't worry - somehow there will be a Prodigal Son in Orford Church in time! [...]".

5) Thanking Sherlock for his support: "It is always a real joy for us to come and work in Orford Church - not least because of your own unfailing kindness and deep understanding of what we are trying to do [...]".

6) "Peter and I are just off to USSR via London for a month or so, so I am afraid a meeting about next year will have to wait till September. But Stephen R. can in the meantime give you all our proposals for next year's Festival at Orford [...]".

7) "I am here for a week or so (before going off to Helsinki, + to USSR again) [...]".

8) "What a wonderful lot of flowers - how cheering to be reminded that spring and health will not be far away! I was very touched by them [...]".

Letter 1 shows slight separation to the lower fold; 2 to 8 in excellent condition.


Not in the Collected Letters, Volume 6 (1966-1976), ed. by Philip Reed & Mervyn Cooke.

Art.-Nr.: BN#58008 Schlagwort: