In six days it will be the 100th anniversary of his birth. Born in Lowestoft on 22nd November 1913 Benjamin was the youngest of 4 children. He received his first piano lesson at the age of five from his mother Edith.
By the age of fourteen Britten was receiving instruction from Frank Bridge during the school holidays. This was an important development in Britten's musical education.
The 1937 premier of Variations on a Theme by Frank Bridge was performed at the Salzburg Festival.
In 1948 Britten and his partner Peter Pears founded the Aldeburgh Festival.
As one might expect from a musician born in Lowestoft the sea was eventually to play a great role in Britten's compositions and he included it in three world famous operas: Peter Grimes, Billy Budd and Death in Venice.
I found the above photograph of Benjamin Britten and W H Auden within my programme at Britten's Curlew River / Prodigal Son which I was privileged to see performed fairly recently at Vienna's Kammeroper.
Quite a few years ago on holiday in East Anglia I took the opportunity to stand at the side by side graves of Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears the man in whose arms he died on 4th December 1976 at the age of sixty-three.
I was impressed by the twin rectangles of thin stone, perhaps it was slate, and the absence of adornment. Pompous marble statues garlanded with laurel leaves and hung about with golden chains are here not required.
People who live by the sea know the worth of a life cannot be measured by the size of a stone
In 1945 Britten was giving performances for ex-prisoners in Germany with Yehudi Menhuin and in 1962 his War Requiem was performed at the newly built Coventry Cathedral.
The November 2013 issue of the Austrian theatre and culture magazine Bühne carries a three page tribute to Benjamin Britten titled The Pacifist and the Sea and a two page article under the heading Britten's Musical Universe which is all about Decca's new 65cd/1dvd boxed set: Britten, The Complete Works.
You can find a special musical treat to celebrate the 100th anniversary here.