Britten thematic catalogue
About the project
About the project
An overview of the Britten Thematic Catalogue Project
A thematic catalogue of Benjamin Britten's complete works is currently being developed by the Britten-Pears Foundation (BPF) in Aldeburgh. The first phase of the project (2006-2009) was funded by the AHRC and represented a collaboration between the Foundation and the School of Music at the University of East Anglia. The second phase (2009-2012) is being run exclusively by the Foundation, but we will be maintaining the valuable links with UEA that were established during the preliminary years of the project.
The principal aim of this project is to document all manuscript sources as well as providing incipits, full bibliographic details, other related material such as performance history, photographs, as well as audio incipits, digitised manuscripts and links to a live performance calendar. It also aims to provide, for the first time, a complete listing of the unpublished material held in the BPF archive and elsewhere. At the moment we are concentrating primarily on Britten's extensive juvenilia and on the development of structure, methodology, and innovative technologies required to serve the complexities of the catalogue. Once this work is complete, the aim is to prepare the definitive catalogue for the composer's centenary in 2013. We also intend to produce a printed version for the centenary.
The majority of the primary sources relating to Britten are kept at The Red House, Aldeburgh, Suffolk, the research resource at the heart of this project. A Library Trust was established here by the composer during his lifetime and the research facility was officially opened in 1980. Originally assembled as a working collection of manuscripts, books, music and sound recordings (including some historically important music and treatises from the 16th to 18th centuries), the collection has grown into one of the country's most important specialist archives for music research and scholarship, holding an assemblage of manuscripts and interim materials unrivaled by that of almost any other single composer collection (approximating to about 98% of material known to be extant), and including also extensive collections of correspondence, photographs, audio-visual materials and other archives and ephemera.
The thematic catalogue project is designed as a ‘hybrid library' initiative intended, as part of a wider access strategy, to make these unique and comprehensive research collections readily available and searchable on the web. The completion of the project will allow scholars to have desktop access to the entire range of documentary information relating to Britten's works, their sources, and the holdings of the Britten-Pears Foundation and other collections.