Review of Philip Brett. 2006. Music and Sexuality in Britten: Selected Essays, edited by George E. Haggerty. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press

Adams, Byron

Music and Sexuality in Britten: Selected Essays consists of shards collected and transformed into a satisfying whole. Sadly, the collection’s author Philip Brett died of cancer in 2002, making him unable to complete a book on Britten’s life and work. Brett’s writings on Britten’s life and work remain unsurpassed for their insight, compassion and elegance. Happily, Music and Sexuality in Britten enables the reader to trace the progressive refinement of Brett’s though in a way that would necessarily have been submerged in a larger, more integrated work. In his preface, Britten’s life partner and editor George E. Haggerty aprtly observes that the “great virtue of this collection is that it shows Philip coming at similar material over nearly thirty years and producing increasingly subtle and nuanced readings that suggest as much about critical practice as they do about their subject.”


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August 18, 2022