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Castleton Festival Closer

Charles T. Downey, Castleton Festival offers excellent tribute for Benjamin Britten centenary
Washington Post, July 29, 2013

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J. Bridcut, Britten's Children
What to make of the Benjamin Britten centenary? The final concert program of the Castleton Festival, heard Saturday night, offered an excellent tribute to the British composer. How does one square one’s admiration for the beauty of Britten’s music with a clearer understanding, thanks to a well-researched and not sensationalized book by John Bridcut, of Britten’s attraction to teenage boys? [Continue reading]
Castleton Festival Orchestra
Music by Britten, Tchaikovsky
Castleton Festival

Of his song cycle Les Illuminations, Britten wrote to a performer that the eighth song, Parade, "should be made to sound creepy, evil, dirty, and really desperate." Because of the text's listing of various kinds of men, Philip Brett once wrote that this song depicts "cruising."

W. H. Auden, Rimbaud
The nights, the railway-arches, the bad sky,
His horrible companions did not know it;
But in that child the rhetorician’s lie
Burst like a pipe: the cold had made a poet.
Drinks bought him by his weak and lyric friend
His senses systematically deranged,
To all accustomed nonsense put an end;
Till he from the lyre and weakness was estranged.
Verse was a special illness of the ear;
Integrity was not enough; that seemed
The hell of childhood: he must try again.
Now, galloping through Africa, he dreamed
Of a new self, the son, the engineer,
His truth acceptable to lying men.

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