The first piece of classical music that meant anything at all to me was his “Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra”. I was a Young Person alright, but not so much Guided, more Abducted. To this day, many, many years after I first heard it, I cannot hear the re-insertion of the main theme at the end over the high skittering
Woodwind dogfight of the fugue, without a moistening of the eye.
As my taste and curiosity grew, I naturally investigated further….the orchestral Interludes from “Peter Grimes”, the ballet music “Prince of the Pagodas”, ”Frank Bridge Variations”, even chamber works ( not a form I often respond to…) like the Cello Sonatas, and String quartets. There was always something there to enchant me, and Britten became a guaranteed source of joy.
It’s the polarities in the music that intrigue and satisfy me….accessible yet demanding, atmospheric and rich in subtle colours yet with the clearly defined architecture I can never perceive in, for instance, Delius. It is deeply felt in a very English,guarded way, beautiful in a bleak, East Anglian sense.