benny for your thoughts – part II

2011 is the year the beaver began stalking benjamin britten.  i blame maestro carlos for this slightly pathological obsession: if he didn’t place britten’s sinfonia de requiem on the band’s carnegie program back in may, i would still be able to live a healthy, normal, american life.  but instead of watching monday night football, i’m cozying up with benjamin britten biographies right before bed. [reading about the composer and his partner peter hooking up for the first time in grand rapids, michigan is the perfect spark for some interesting dreams, i assure you…]  and instead of ferrying over to the statue of liberty during my big trip to nyc, i took the subway over to brooklyn to see where benny and peter once shared a flophouse with w. h. auden and gypsy rose lee.  [sadly, the actual house isn’t even there anymore!]  perhaps most alarming, instead of following a tried and true alice waters recipe for dinner guests yesterday, i concocted this inconceivable [yet, somehow tasty] british dish called toad in the hole to celebrate the recent performance of britten’s piano concerto.  did you catch it saturday or monday at the schnitz?  oh, please tell me you did.  i feel as though i could write a week of blog posts on this insanely brilliant composition, but the beaver will spare you.  let me just say that when steven, jon, and matt joined forces on piano, timpani, and bass drum, the combined effect was ten times tastier than yorkshire pudding, onion gravy, and bangers.  the musical life of uncle benny has completely taken hold of me in ways that cannot be explained.  i just assumed that gustav mahler would always have my extra-special composer cockle all to himself, but surprisingly, mr. britten has (very properly) introduced himself as the newest resident in the flophouse of my heart.


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