Last modified on 2 April 2019, at 06:05

Benjamin Britten

Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) was a British composer who wrote songs, orchestral music and a number of operas, including The Turn of the Screw, Billy Budd, Peter Grimes, Death in Venice and A Midsummer Night's Dream. As a songwriter, he had a great sensitivity to English poetry. He is regarded as one of the outstanding composers of the twentieth century.

He studied music under Frank Bridge at the Royal College of Music in London. During World War II he was a pacifist, who fled England to America to avoid being called up to serve in the army. In this respect, he was like his friends W. H. Auden and Christopher Isherwood. After the war, he returned to England, and settled in East Anglia, where he set up the Aldeburgh Music festival at The Maltings, Snape, in Suffolk. Shortly before he died he was made a life peer of the UK.

Religious beliefs

Britten was a Christian and a practicing member of the Church of England. However he often found this difficult to reconcile with his Communist views and his homosexuality which had, as is so often found, a strong pedophile aspect. Many of Britten's operas deal with his inner guilt, conflict and torment over the latter problem in particular, choosing themes concerned with harm to children (in Peter Grimes), or the guilt of an adult who deliberately corrupts a child (in The Turn of the Screw).

Homosexuality and links with pedophilia

According to Eric Crozier, Britten's librettist for Albert Herring, Britten was seduced or raped as a boy by a master at his private school, and was thereafter "under a compulsion to corrupt other small boys." [1] This provides an example of the classic pattern of CSA > homosexuality > CSA > homosexuality etc.

From 1934 onwards, Britten visited Germany from time to time and had a relationship with a German boy, Wulff Scherchen who was aged from 13-17. It may or may not have been physical. In 1936, Britten met 13-year-old Harry Morris, whom he invited to go on holiday with him in Cornwall. When Britten came to his bedroom at night and made "a sexual approach" Harry screamed and hit Britten with a chair, then Britten's sister Beth rushed into the room. Harry left the next morning and told his mother what had happened, but she did not believe him. Morris related this to John Bridcut, a biographer of Britten. David Spenser was thirteen years old when he had the role of Harry in Britten's opera Albert Herring. When he first went to stay with Britten at Crag House, they shared a double bed, Britten explaining that with the recent move from the Old Mill at Snape it was the only bed in the house. Roger Duncan, the 11-year-old son of the writer Ronald Duncan, spent many weeks staying with Britten, who took him and another boy, Humphrey Stone, on regular naked midnight swims.[2]

Britten made no secret of his interest in boys, frequently writing vocal or choral music for them and was much associated with Westminster Choir School in London. [image] However, the benign image he tried to cultivate is belied by more disturbing facts that have been tracked down by modern researchers such as Ian Pace. Britten was a close friend of Peter Righton, founder and lynchpin of the British Pedophile Information Exchange, (PIE) and also of Michael Davidson, a self-confessed pederast whose books detail his pedophile escapades on the Continent. Righton lived in Suffolk, close to the Maltings, Snape where Britten ran his music Festival, and Righton’s diaries mention meetings with Britten, Peter Pears, and their mutual friend Davidson whom he calls fellow “boy-lovers” his term for pederasts. Righton was convicted for pedophile offences and has been exposed as a lifelong predator on boys, a systematic arch-criminal who set up networks that enabled him and other pederasts to prey on boys in care-homes, boarding-schools and foster-homes. His friendship with Britten is confirmed by the many biographies that draw on Righton as a source, and an expert on Britten. He had a passion for his friends' operas, particularly Death in Venice. [3]

The police uncovered a large-scale juvenile pimping operation centered on a house owned by the infamous gangster Ronnie Kray in the Suffolk village of Tattingstone near Ipswich. This house was fairly close to where Britten and Righton lived. Evidently there must have been enough clients in that area for trade to thrive. A police investigation named the Islington Suffolk Project has also revealed that large numbers of boys from care-homes in Islington were sent on holiday to the Henniker estate in Suffolk where Righton lived, and put at the disposal of "boy-lovers" according to Peter McKelvie, a child protection officer in the UK. [4] [5]

Britten lived with a long-term partner, the singer Peter Pears, who was also homosexual, but like most such relationships it was not sexually exclusive. One biographer has even alleged that Britten caught syphilis from Pears, who had many other contacts. while the syphilis is only an allegation, strongly denied by doctors, the promiscuity is an accepted fact.[6] Pears seems to have shared Britten's taste for boys, making them into a classic example of homosexual pedophile partnerships. In a TV program produced by John Bridcut and broadcast in 2013, colleagues remember how Britten and Pears both got in a lather of erotic excitement about the boy singers while working on his opera Death in Venice, a story he chose for its homoerotic pederastic theme.[7]

Tom O’Carroll, the PIE member and veteran convicted pedophile, has boasted about Benjamin Britten’s known involvement with established pedophile networks in England. According to O'Carroll, Peter Pears confided to a friend that while they lived together, Britten was having relations with boys. He may have indulged while abroad as “He spent a lot of time in the East, touring in, notably, India, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and Ceylon.” O’Carroll categorizes Britten as “hebephile” rather than a “pedophile”.[8] [9]

References