BURIED TOGETHER

Partner Benjamin Britten, buried together

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Sir Peter Neville Luard Pears, CBE (22 June 1910 – 3 April 1986) was an English tenor. His career was closely associated with the composer Benjamin Britten, his personal and professional partner for nearly forty years.

In 1936, after his friend, Peter Burra, was given a long-term loan of a cottage on Bucklebury Common, Berkshire, Pears began to stay with him regularly, and it was through Burra that he got to be friendly with the rising young composer Benjamin Britten, who had become another good friend of Burra's. In 1937 Burra was killed in an air crash. Pears and Britten volunteered to clear his possessions from the cottage, and their daily contact during this period cemented their friendship.[15] Pears quickly became Britten's musical inspiration and close (though for the moment platonic) friend. Britten's first work for him was composed within weeks of their meeting, a setting of Emily Brontë's poem, "A thousand gleaming fires", for tenor and strings.[16]

Pears' musical career started slowly. He was at first unsure whether to concentrate on playing or singing, and despite the efforts of some of his friends, it was not until he met Britten in 1937 that he threw himself wholeheartedly into singing. Once he and Britten were established as a partnership, the composer wrote many concert and operatic works with Pears's voice in mind, and the singer created roles in more than ten operas by his partner. In the concert hall, Pears and Britten were celebrated recitalists, known in particular for their performances of lieder by Schubert and Schumann. Together they recorded most of the works written for Pears by Britten, as well as a wide range of music by other composers. Working with other musicians, Pears sang an extensive repertoire of music from four centuries, from the Tudor period to the most modern times.

With Britten, Pears was a co-founder of the Aldeburgh Festival in 1947 and the Britten-Pears School in 1972. After Britten died in 1976, Pears remained an active participant in the festival and the school, where he was director of singing. His own voice had a distinctive timbre, not to all tastes, but such was his musical skill that he could use the voice to good effect in many styles of music.

Pears died in Aldeburgh on 3 April 1986 at the age of 75. He was buried beside Britten in the churchyard of the parish church of St Peter and St Paul, Aldeburgh.[2]

 

external image II_Chester%20Terrace,%20London,%20UK.jpg
Chester Terrace


  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/queerplaces/images/Peter_Pears#Notes_and_references