Tribute to Benjamin Britten on His Fiftieth Birthday

Tribute to Benjamin Britten on His Fiftieth Birthday

Tribute to Benjamin Britten on His Fiftieth Birthday

Tribute to Benjamin Britten on His Fiftieth Birthday

Excerpt

The idea of compiling a book for Benjamin Britten on his fiftieth birthday originated with three of his closest friends. They took me into their counsel and invited me to help shape the project and put it into effect. I gladly agreed and in my own turn consulted Messrs. Faber and Faber. The encouragement and help I have received from them has greatly enhanced my enjoyment of the whole task.

Our invitation to those of Mr. Britten's friends and collaborators who we thought would like tojoin in such a gift specified only that they should contribute something that they themselves liked and that they thought would give the recipient pleasure. This is a rather loose formula even for the compilation of a miscellany, but we believed it would serve our purpose better than to ask for conventional expressions of regard -- twenty-five years hence will be time enough for those -- though such expressions have not been excluded where contributors wanted to voice them. Our one sadness, which we know will be shared by every reader, is that Francis Poulenc should have died while the boor, was in preparation.

Some names which one might have been expected to find here are absent because their owners preferred a personal and private greeting; others because the commitments of active lives prevented them from giving the time and thought they judged necessary to satisfy their own standards. Others, again, may have rightly felt that they should have been asked but were not. To any such I can only apologize for my shortcomings as an editor. The original list we drew up of possible contributors was immensely long without being really comprehensive and in shortening it we were guided by our wish to compile a book that would be varied and not unwieldy.

To publish an edition by advance subscription would have robbed the project of that element of surprise which we hope may . . .

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