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Benjamin Britten: Words into Music
Benjamin Britten’s settings of nine of the Holy Sonnets of John Donne are some of the most intense, thoughtful, and at times disturbing of all his songs. They were composed in the summer of 1945 in the immediate aftermath of visits to the newly liberated concentration camps while he was on tour in Germany with Yehudi Menuhin. This evening’s event in music, words and images will explore these profound works from the perspectives of poetry, interpretation, musical setting, and the composer’s life, with contributions from Britten literary specialist Dr Kate Kennedy (Girton College, Cambridge), and Professor David Roberts and Dr Gregory Leadbetter from our own School of English. The settings will be performed by James Geer, former Britten-Pears School Young Artist, with Professor Ronald Woodley from the Conservatoire’s Research Department.