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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

Salvation at Sea

Salvation at Sea

Britten's Billy Budd

(p.70) Chapter Four: Salvation at Sea
Music and Sexuality in Britten

Philip Brett

University of California Press

The association of Britten and E. M. Forster is one of the more interesting in the annals of opera. Britten's opera Albert Herring was dedicated to Forster quite appropriately, for it contains whiffs of Forsterian social comedy and a good dose of the message of the early novels. Forster had written sympathetically about Melville in his Aspects of the Novel, but the story offered him more than purely critical delight. For Britten, Billy Budd must have seemed a logical and necessary further exploration of themes he had already broached, most notably in Peter Grimes and Albert Herring. In Billy Budd, the setting is still a hostile, uncomfortable environment dominated by oppressive forces. The musical language of Budd as a whole is less demonstrative and colorful, subtler than that of Grimes, suggesting most convincingly a certain gray monotony of life at sea, as well as the inner grayness of a character such as Claggart, in whom it dwells.

Keywords:   Britten, Billy Budd, Britten, monotony, Albert Herring

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