<i>Grimes</i> and <i>Lucretia</i>

Philip Brett

in Music and Sexuality in Britten

Published by University of California Press

Published in print November 2006 | ISBN: 9780520246096
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520939127 | DOI:
Grimes and Lucretia

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One of the sure tests of a composer's stature is how Grimes reacts to success. The furore over Peter Grimes both at home and abroad after its premiere in 1945 was possibly more remarkable than that accorded any other opera this century. Grimes was a success from the start, and the sort of success that might have tempted a lesser composer to continue in the same vein. The Rape of Lucretia, first performed a little more than a year after Grimes, represents a radical departure from the earlier work in more ways than one. The chamber proportions and scoring of Lucretia can of course be explained by practical considerations, which were always a creative challenge for Britten. Indeed, it led to the withdrawal of Peter Grimes from the repertory after a surprisingly small number of performances.

Keywords: Grimes; Rape of Lucretia; Britten; radical departure; Grimes and Lucretia

Chapter.  5854 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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