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Music and Sexuality in BrittenSelected Essays$
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Philip Brett and George Haggerty

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780520246096

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520246096.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 23 September 2021

The Britten Era

The Britten Era

Chapter:
(p.204) Chapter twelve The Britten Era
Source:
Music and Sexuality in Britten
Author(s):

Philip Brett

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520246096.003.0013

The world of art music witnessed, in the nineteenth century, a tendency to focus upon a single figure representation of national musical pride, a perception that was complemented by the relationship between the leading composer of the day and the British public. It surely helped in Britten's case that he decided to become a composer of opera, a genre in which for one reason or another British composers had not managed to make an impact on the standard repertory, but which also encouraged thought about self-presentation. Britten never wanted to hide behind a cloud of abstract modernism or avant-garde ideas, and functionally endorsed the practice of “pure art.” Besides, opera seemed to be just the appropriate platform to enable the audience to identify with an allegorical figure and, instead of dissecting homosexuality as the problem, dealing with the society's vicious treatment of difference.

Keywords:   art music, British public, allegorical figure, abstract modernism, pure art, avant garde

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