Britten and the radio

Garnham, A. M. (2022) Britten and the radio. In: Benjamin Britten in Context. Composers in Context . Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 78-85.


During Britten’s lifetime, there were fundamental changes to technology that altered his and his audience’s experience of live and recorded musical performance. Chief among these was the advent of radio, established in Britain in October 1922 with the formation of the British Broadcasting Company (BBC). This chapter explores the BBC’s influence on British musical life and the cultural life of the nation. Discussions include the corporation’s manner of promotion of past and contemporary British music and composers and the changes made to programming during and in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War. The BBC was fundamental to Britten’s creation of a British identity as he disseminated his music to a wider audience, as well as to the success of the Aldeburgh Festival.

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