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on 31 July 2013
Beware! This book is essentially a reissue of John Bridcut's 'The Faber Pocket Guide to Britten' , published by Faber and Faber in 2010. If there are any differences between the two books, apart from a new title, new cover and new ISBN number, I cannot see them. I have been avidly buying the various books that have appeared in celebration of Britten's centenary year and, having enjoyed Bridcut's 'Britten's Children', I bought this title in good faith. Some warning would have been good.

As to the book itself, it is something of a curate's egg. The tone is somewhat facetious (with a 'Round Britten Quiz' at the end of each section). The overall effect is rather disappointing. Perhaps the best section is Part Five, 'the music of Britten', where Bridcut offers his by no means uncritical opinion of many of Britten's works.
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on 7 March 2013
This is a book which you don't have to read cover to cover, although you will end up having read all the pages. It approaches many aspects of Britten's work and life in an unusual and engaging way. Bridcut is clearly an enthusiast and admirer, but this is a personal view and in no way sycophantic: he is not afraid to admit that he rates some of Britten's works less than others. If you are already well-informed about Britten you will find the format refreshing with its list of 'must hear works', views on Britten from other notable figures in the arts and comments on all Britten's works by genre. There is a lot packed into this small book and it would make an ideal gift.
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on 5 September 2013
This book sits somewhere between a biography, a catalogue and a miscellany of trivia.
There are sections on his life year by year, what he thought of other people and vice versa, his cars, his pets, and many more. The most substantial section at the end lists all Britten's works, giving comments on each, with a 1-5 star rating, and recommended recordings.
The style of the book is very much a list of facts, and it is refreshingly free of musicological jargon.
A slight weakness of the format is that certain themes come up rather too often, being repeated in the different sections - something that could never be said of Britten's music!
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on 21 March 2013
I rarely miss the opportunity to find out more about one of my heroes but apart from the odd snippet, there is little new here and the 'miscellany' approach rather trivializes its subject.
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on 24 December 2012
I have bought most previous books on Britten whom I have admired since my schooldays in the 1940's. Even so I find this lttle book a fascinating guide to his life and work. It is very inexpensive for what it is and were I younger I would insist on a hardback as it is the sort of book one turns to first for information
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on 18 June 2013
a more or less inclusive gude to Britten and his music.This guide will help me with this year's opera performances.
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A light hearted and fun guide for Britten's anniversary year. This is full of lists of trivia and other bits and pieces. But the most useful is the section containing reviews of all the major music, together with Bridcut's one to five rating system. Britten was extremely prolific, so I am finding the rating system very handy to help me prioritise my listening.
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