To the Editors:
With some diffidence as just “an interested reader” and the hope that Britten “scholars” will comment on Leo Carey’s interesting article [“The Battle of Britten,” NYR, August 15], I feel the author’s linking a supposed “retreat” by Britten following the premiere of Gloriana in 1953 with the setting up of the English Opera Group and the Aldeburgh Festival is seriously misleading and requires a correction of fact. Britten appears as extraordinarily productive in this early postwar period, with tours in Britain and abroad, nonoperatic compositions, and performances as conductor and pianist, apart from his rapid sequence of operas.
Leo Carey replies:
I am grateful to Neil Pride for clarifying a chronology that, while not actually misstated, was perhaps too elided in my piece. It’s of course true that both the English Opera Group and the Aldeburgh Festival were established in the late 1940s. My point is that once they were thriving, they enabled Britten to largely circumvent a London music scene that he disliked—an antipathy that came to a head with the disastrous premiere of Gloriana.
The Battle of Britten November 22, 2013