BRITTEN, BENJAMIN. (1913-1976). British composer; creator of Peter Grimes and The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, as well as other works in the standard repertoire. TLS. (“Benjamin Britten”). 1p. 4to. Aldeburgh, April 17, 1968. Typed on his Red House stationery to Australian composer DON BANKS (1923-1980), chairman of the Society for the Promotion of New Music (SPNM) from 1967-1968.
Letter by the Composer of “Peter Grimes” on the Politics of the Society for the Promotion of New Music
Signed by Benjamin Britten
“Thank you for letting me see the Draft Constitution and inviting me to take part in the voting. I fear for the reasons given below that I do not wish to do this.
I am disturbed by the fact that the S.P.N.M. has chosen to take on such a complicated constitution, which, I am advised, may enormously complicate the carrying out of the Society’s work, a constitution which with so many and complex checks and balances between the three Arms of the S.P.N.M., i.e. Council, Trustees and Executive Committee, may be very difficult to operate in practice and will need to be constantly referred to.
In these circumstances, therefore, as President, I do not propose to take part in the Vote on the Draft Constitution 1/2/68…”
Britten, who began composing at age 12, won international acclaim in 1937 for his Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge. While touring the U.S., Britten secured a Koussevitzky Foundation commission which, upon returning to England, led to the composition of his first opera, Peter Grimes. The success of the opera, based on George Crabbe’s poem The Borough, placed Britten at the forefront of 20th-century composers. With his artistic partner and companion, English tenor Peter Pears, Britten founded the Aldeburgh Festival, which became important to English music and the locus of Britten’s activities. Among his other works are the popular Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra and the well-known War Requiem.
In 1952, the Committee for the Promotion of New Music, in which Britten had held leadership roles since its inception in 1943, adopted a new constitution to become the Society for the Promotion of New Music.
Heavily influenced by jazz, Don Banks composed orchestral, chamber, instrumental and vocal works as well as scores for movies and television, especially horror films for Hammer Studios, of which The Reptile, The Mummy’s Shroud, Torture Garden, The Frozen Dead, Rasputin the Mad Monk, and Monster of Terror are but a few.
Folded and creased with several staple holes in the upper left corner. In fine condition.