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Benjamin Britten was the finest opera composer that England has ever produced. And his other masterpieces – including the War Requiem, concertos, and countless songs – reveal a composer of extraordinary skill and originality.
In 1937, Britten became friends with the tenor Peter Pears while they were both helping to clear out the cottage of a mutual friend. Pears quickly became Britten's musical inspiration and, initially, a close friend. Britten's first work for Pears was composed within weeks of their meeting, a setting of Emily Brontë's poem, "A thousand gleaming fires", for tenor and strings. Image courtesy of www.britten100.org.
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