"It is the quality which cannot be acquired by simply the exercise of a technique or a system - it is something to do with personality, with gift, with spirit. I quite simply call it magic, a quality which would appear to be by no means unacknowledged by scientists, and which I value more than any other part of music."
From Britten's acceptance speech when awarded the first Aspen Award.
Benjamin Britten was born on 22nd November 1913 in Lowestoft, Suffolk.
The anniversary of the birth of the most important British composer of the second half of the 20th century is shared with several other events. Happily today is also St Cecilia's Day, and she is of course the patron saint of musicians.
Less happily today is the anniversary of the assasination of John F. Kennedy in Dallas in 1963.
I know it is of several orders of magnitude less important than those events, but I also was born on 22nd November. I listened to my favourite travel writer, Patrick Leigh-Fermor, on my favourite radio programme, Private Passions, two weeks back. Leigh-Fermor (who celebrated his 90th birthday this year!) mentioned Robert Byron's classic book about Mount Athos, The Station, which I have never read. I checked the excellent online Norfolk Library database to find a single copy in the county, acquired in 1949 - the year of my birth. I ordered it, thinking that the chance of it being found was zero. Today the copy arived for me to collect - on my birthday. I wonder how many html files of music blogs will be traceable in the year 2061?
Picture credit - Britten-Pears Foundation
Report broken links, missing images, and other errors to - overgrownpath at blogspot dot co dot uk
If you enjoyed this post take an overgrown path to Easter at Aldeburgh, and Death of a library.