In May 1939 Britten and Pears disembarked at Montreal at the start of their American visit, which was to be a period of intense musical activity and new personal relationships. At the same time, the relationship between Britten and Pears deepened into a partnership that was to endure for almost forty years.
Their absence from England during the first years of the war led to sharp public comment and controversy, much of it documented here. On their return from America in 1942, hostility to their pacifist convictions and to their homosexuality resurfaced. Prejudice and subterfuge even affected the première of Peter Grimes in 1945, although it could not prevent the opera from being an unprecedented success.
The letters in this second volume from the years 1939 to 1945 are among the most fascinating of the correspondence, and - supplemented by the editors' detailed commentary and by exhaustive contemporary documentation - offer a unique insight into American history, politics and culture during the Second World War.
“One of the most illuminating biographical projects in recent years.” —Peter Ackroyd