Composers: In the Call of the Cuckoo

Benjamin Britten began the celebration of his 50th birthday by conducting the London Symphony last September in a concert dedicated to himself. He took the podium again last week to honor his birthday with a performance of his War Requiem at London's Royal Festival Hall. Having given English critics the entire autumn to contemplate the significance of a birthday that in fact occurred in late November, Britten found himself still best described by two praiseful paradoxes. Though he has gained immensely in intellectual force over the years, he has lost none of...

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