In Memory of Benjamin Britten

Reading time: 1 min. Benjamin Britten Arvo Pärt

In the past years we have had many losses in the world of music to mourn. Why did the date of Benjamin Britten’s death – 4 December 1976 – touch such a chord in me?

During this time I was obviously at the point where I could recognize the magnitude of such a loss. Inexplicable feelings of guilt, more than that even, arose in me. I had just discovered Britten for myself. Just before his death I began to appreciate the unusual purity of his music – I had had the impression of the same kind of purity in the ballads of Guillaume de Machaut. And besides, for a long time I had wanted to meet Britten personally – and now it would not come to that.

Arvo Pärt

Celebrating the centenary of Benjamin Britten, here are the first three pages of Arvo Pärt’s autograph of Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten (Cantus Benjamin Britteni mälestuseks), a piece commemorating the great English composer.You can click on the images to see high resolution zoomable scans.

By the end of this day, the piece will have been performed more than 1150 times in the last 20 years, there are more than 150 entries in our performance database for 2013 alone.

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