Friday 14 June 2013

Britten-Pears Archive Opens today

The new Britten-Pears Archive, designed by Stanton William (photo Philip Vile)
The £4.7 million Britten-Pears Archive is opened today by Dame Janet Baker, the singer for whom Britten wrote one of his last major works, Phaedra. The archive is the first such purpose-built composer archive in the UK. The Britten archive is the the most comprehensive collection of any composer in the world. It tells the story of Britten’s creative and personal life in extraordinary depth and breadth, including manuscripts for over 700 pieces of music (including the vast majority of Britten's original manuscripts), diaries, 80,000 letters, countless photographs, recordings, films, costumes, set models, art, books and much more.

The new red-brick archive building is designed by Stanton Williams and it is situated in the grounds of the Red House in Aldeburgh where Britten and Pears lived from 1957. The creation of a dedicated archive has allowed space for the re-creation of Britten’s composing studio, where he wrote the War Requiem and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, in situ. The space freed up on the site has also been used to develop exhibition and education facilities. There is a new exhibition exploring Britten’s life and music with and objects and documents from the Britten Pears Foundations’s rich collections. The exhibition will also be interactive including replicas of the original animal headdresses from Noye’s Fludd, which visitors can try on. The exhibition has been designed to appeal to all members of the family.

Further information from the Britten-Pears Foundation's website.
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