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Benjamin Britten

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Neil Powell's Benjamin Britten- A Life for Music is the landmark biography of this pioneering musician's rich life and work.

About the Author

Neil Powell is a poet and biographer who has written extensively on literature and music. His previous books include Roy Fuller- Writer and Society (1995), The Language of Jazz (1997), George Crabbe- An English Life (2004) and Amis & Son- Two Literary Generations (2008), as well as seven collections of poetry, the most recent of which is Proof of Identity (2012). He lives in Suffolk.


Neil Powell is a poet, and it shows. Fluent... intimate... psychologically adept... [Powell does] an exceptional job of bringing this strange, neurotic and evasive man to life. -- Bryan Appleyard * Sunday Times *
[A] fine biography... Powell has a more personal touch... takes a more literary approach, and is good at relating the vocal pieces to their sources. * Daily Telegraph *
A sensible, well-written book by an author who is a literary scholar: this is the biography to choose if you are new to Britten and want an introduction to his life. * Country Life *
Powell carries the torch into the present, naming those singers now performing the work anew, painting a portrait of the Aldeburgh festival as it is today. His account has air and light, and brings alive the sense of landscape - the East Anglian coast, the marshes, the wind and waves - which have coloured so much of Britten's music. * Observer *
Tightly focused... sympathetic. Powell lives in Suffolk and has a strong understanding of the composer's cultural rootedness in that part of the world. * Economist *

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