The archive of the Britten-Pears Foundation has shared with Wolverhampton City Archives a collection of letters sent to Benjamin Britten, an English composer, conductor and pianist who was a central figure of 20th century British classical music.
In July 1969, pupils sent these letters to the composer after participating in a local music festival, held at Wolverhampton’s Grand Theatre, where they performed some of his work. They were keen to find out what other music he had composed.
As the 50th anniversary of these letters approaches the City Archives, owned and operated by City of Wolverhampton Council, is keen to trace some of the pupils from the class of 69 to assist in collecting information, images and sound bites for an exhibition to celebrate the composer and music that once elated audiences.
Heidi McIntosh, City Archives Senior Archivist: “We were delighted when the Britten-Pears Foundation made contact with us and we hope that we can connect former pupils with these letters and music that they once performed.”
The piece the children performed in 1969 is Britten’s ‘Friday Afternoons’, a suite of songs he wrote for schoolchildren during 1933-35 when he was a very young man. The 12 songs were a dedication to his brother Robert who was a teacher.
For anyone interested in speaking to a member of the City Archives team and sharing their story, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, message us on Facebook (@wolvesarchives)/Twitter (@WolvesArchives), or call 01902 552480 during opening hours (Wednesday 1pm to 7pm, Thursday and Friday 10am to 4pm and Saturdays 10am to 1pm).