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Stanton Williams unwraps £4.7m Benjamin Britten archive

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Stanton Williams’ £4.7 million archive dedicated to the work of composer Benjamin Britten has opened today in Aldeburgh, Suffolk

The Britten-Pears Archive building has been built in the grounds of The Red House - the Grade II-listed home which Britten shared with famous tenor Peter Pears from 1957 until his death in 1976.

According to the Stirling Prize-winning practice, the brick building was based on the ‘egg in a box’ concept - a ‘well-insulated’ casing housing the ‘first major purpose-built composer archive in the UK’.

The Archive centre tells the story of Britten’s creative and personal life ‘in extraordinary depth and breadth’ and includes manuscripts for more than 700 pieces of music, diaries, 80,000 letters, photographs, recordings, films, costumes, set models, art and books.

The scheme was backed by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Britten-Pears Foundation.

Richard Jarman, Director of Britten-Pears Foundation says: ‘These buildings will ensure that our unique collection can be kept in optimal conditions for generations to come and will bring alive to all our visitors what makes Britten one of the greatest composers of the twentieth century.

‘What we have at The Red House is exceptional – a rich and illuminating collection held in the very place where Britten lived and composed, with all its extraordinary spirit of place. It is destined to be a site of pilgrimage for music lovers all over the world.’

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