In 1939, uncertain about the future of Europe and imagining a new life for himself in the New World, the 25-year-old English composer Benjamin Britten set sail for Canada in search of opportunity. Follow his Canadian footsteps and experience the journey by way of his letters, (re-)posted as part of this Britten centennial series on CBC Music.
RMS Ausonia, ca. 1939. (Photo: Stewart Bale/Library and Archives Canada)
The Atlantic crossing
Letter to Mary Behrend: April 17, 1939.
Letter to Wulff Scherchen: May 1, 1939.
Letter to Lennox Berkeley: May 3, 1939.
Letter to Aaron Copland: May 8, 1939.
Letter to Ralph Hawkes: May 9, 1939.
Peter Pears, Lac Ouimet, St. Jovite, QC. (Photo: Britten-Pears Foundation)
Letter to Ralph Hawkes: May 16, 1939.
Letter to Aaron Copland: May 18, 1939.
Letter to Ralph Hawkes: Late May, 1939.
Letter to Ralph Hawkes: June 1, 1939.
Letter to Ralph Hawkes: June 3, 1939.
Letter to W. H. Auden: June 5, 1939.
Letter to Enid Slater: June 6, 1939.
Union Station, Toronto, ON. (Photo: Toronto Public Library, Digital Archives)
Letter to Ralph Hawkes: June 16, 1939.
Letters to Lennox Berkeley and Wulff Scherchen: June 19, 1939
Letters to Barbara Britten and Beth Welford: June 25, 1939.
Letter to Enid Slater: June 27, 1939.
Britten with producer John Adaskin at the CBC studios in Toronto. (Courtesy of CBC Still Photo Collection)
Help CBC Music deliver these letters to your friends and followers: post them on Facebook or share them on Twitter. You can also follow @Britten1939 as he continues his tweeting stateside this summer and fall.
Benjamin Britten’s Canada
on Jul 01, 2013