'I belong at home – there – in Aldeburgh. I have tried to bring music to it in the shape of our local Festival; and all the music I write comes from it.'
One of the greatest composers of the twentieth century, Benjamin Britten was visionary in his outlook as an artist. He wrote for the present, rather than for posterity, and was rooted in his community and the landscape. Perhaps even more than Vivaldi and Venice or Wagner and Bayreuth, Britten and Aldeburgh are inseparable, and to understand the composer and his world, Aldeburgh and its surrounding county, Suffolk, are the keys.
Some of Britten’s greatest works were written for or about key locations in the area – the Church Parables written for Orford Church, Peter Grimes, set in Aldeburgh, Let’s Make an Opera in Iken and Albert Herring in the imaginary town of 'Loxford', a reference to Yoxford – while others, like Death in Venice, were premiered in the magnificent concert hall Britten built at Snape Maltings.
'Suffolk, with its rolling, intimate countryside; its heavenly Gothic churches, big and small; its marshes, with those wild sea-birds; its grand ports and its little fishing villages. I am firmly rooted in this glorious county … I treasure these roots, my Suffolk roots; roots are especially valuable nowadays, when so much we love is disappearing or being threatened, when there is so little to cling to.'