Thursday, November 11, 2010

Winter Words

Benjamin Britten to Peter Pears, 17 November 1974:

"My darling heart (perhaps an unfortunate phrase - but I can't use any other) I feel I must write a squiggle which I couldn't say on the telephone without bursting in to those silly tears - I do love you so terribly, not only glorious you, but your singing. I've just listened to a reboradcast of Winter Words (something like Sept. '72) and honestly you are the greatest artist that ever was - every nuance, subtle and never over-done - those great words, so sad & wise, painted for one, that heavenly sounds you make, full but always colored for words & music. What have I done to deserve such an artist and man to write for? I had to switch off before the folk songs because I couldn't anything after - 'how long, how long.' How long? - only till Dec. 20th - I think I can just bear it.

But I love you,
I love you,
I love you ----

Pears' reply to Britten, 21 November 1974:

"My dearest darling,

No one has ever ever had a lovelier letter than the one which came from you today - You say things which turn my heart over with love and pride, and I love you for every single word you write. But you know, Love is blind - and what your dear eyes do not see is that it is you who have give me everything, right from the beginning, from yourself in Grand Rapids! through Grimes & Serenade & Michelangelo & Canticles - one thing after another, right up to this great Aschenbach - I am here as your mouthpiece and I live in your music - And I can never be thankful enough to you and to Fate for all the heavenly joy we have had together for 35 years.

My darling, I love you ----

Nor can we be thankful enough for all that both of them left us.


Yankeediva said...

This is too beautiful! Thanks for sharing, Nick, and listen, have a BALL bringing that lovely music to life for the lucky NY audience! ENJOY!!!

JR said...

What a gorgeous post. Gratitude indeed.

Dale said...

So beautiful. Thanks for reminding me of these letters. I'm very much looking forward to hearing you sing tonight!

Dale said...

And thanks for a truly lovely recital. I loved every moment, but I have to say that The Ash Tree is one of my favorite songs and your performance was simply sublime.

Janet said...

It was indeed a marvelous recital. Thank you. I must particularly praise the excellence of your diction--I wasn't following the printed text, and I heard all the words quite naturally and easily, which really adds to the pleasure of the songs.

By the way, your recital was homework for a group of kids next to me from John Jay High School, who were taking copious notes. Wouldn't you love to see what they wrote?

poegirl said...

Such beautiful words exchanged between two wonderful artists. Thanks for posting it on your blog - it is a wonderful reminder to all of us that this type of love existed and (hopefully) still exists today.