The Making of Peter Grimes

The Making of Peter Grimes

The Facsimile of Britten's Composition Draft (Two-volume set)

Edited by Paul Banks


Boydell Press



Facsimile of the composition draft of Peter Grimes, showing Britten's compositional method; companion volume containing essays on its history and significance.
Peter Grimes, Benjamin Britten's first opera, established his stature as a composer, marked a turning point in the fortunes of English opera, and conquered operatic stages around the world. Though its setting and music reflect Britten's greatlove for his native East Anglia, the inspiration for the work was a chance encounter with the poetry of George Crabbe while Britten and the tenor Peter Pears (who eventually created the title role) were staying in California in 1941; they made a number of draft scenarios while they waited for a passage to England, and after their return Montagu Slater was asked to write the libretto. The full score was completed by February 1945.
The single document that reveals most about the work's creative history is the composition draft in which the composer wrestled with text and music, gradually fashioning the opera into its final version. The colour facsimile of this fascinating manuscript is published to coincide with the 50th anniversary of its first production. It is accompanied by a commentary volume containing a series of essays on the work's history and its contemporary significance by leading Britten scholars, together with a brief note on the work by PETER PEARS(apparently never before published) and an account of the first production by the late ERIC CROZIER, who directed it. The volume is illustrated with colour reproductions of some of the original costume designs by Kenneth Green, his portrait of BenjaminBritten, and contemporary black and white photographs.


July 1996
256 pages
34.4x24.7 cm
ISBN: 9780851156323
Format: Hardback
Boydell Press
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Packed away in its pages is a very large amount of new information. ...with something like awe one reads the facsimile, watches a genius's pencil give ever more precise form to his fiery visions; one marvels as instinct, inspiration and high technique conspire to create a masterpiece. TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT (Andrew Porter)
Any admirers of the work who can get access to (these two splendid folio volumes) will have the fascinating experience of watching one of the supreme works of are of the past half century take shape before their eyes. INTERNATIONAL OPERA COLLECTOR (David Cairns) A landmark publication of paramount importance... all future students of this opera will need to take account of it. BRIO A fitting tribute to the opera's enduring international stature, and undoubtedly (a) significant achievement in Britten studies. MUSIC AND LETTERS

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