Benjamin Britten was one of the great English composers of the 20th century. He is known for his operas and choral works. He stressed that he composed music for the people of Aldeburgh and today's people - and that he did not want to make music for posterity. Britten was exceptionally precocious; before he could read or write, he wrote songs. By the time he was 14, he had written a symphony, five more string quartets, ten piano sonatas, and various other smaller works. His "Simple Symphony," dated 1934, includes several of these early works' melodies and themes. Britten's "Peter Grimes" (1945) was his first successful Opera, and it was a breakthrough in his career. The Cello Sonata, Op. 65, was the first of five significant pieces Britten wrote for Rostropovich during the next decade, the others being the Cello Symphony and three solo cello suites. In his correspondence with Rostropovich, Britten shows his modesty in the presence of Rostropovich's fame.
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