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Britten's Endgame

2013   BBC Four

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To mark the centenary of Benjamin Britten's birth, Britten’s Endgame explores the composer's creativity in the face of death.  Those closest to him watched anxiously as he raced to complete his final opera, Death in Venice, in defiance of medical advice, tackling an edgy subject with many resonances in his own life.  His eventual heart operation left him incapacitated and prematurely old and frail, yet somehow he rediscovered his creative urge to produce two late masterpieces.

This is a rich and poignant film about Britten’s final years, and the impact of what Peter Pears called 'an evil opera'.  It follows Bridcut’s first film about the composer, Britten’s Children, which was widely praised when it was shown on BBC Two in 2004. 

FILM CREDITS

Director of Photography Jonathan Partridge
Additional Cameras Vaughan Matthews, Dirk Nel
Jib Operator Daniel Boase
Orchestral Lighting Chris Dowling
Sound Paul Paragon, Patrick Boland, Rashad Omar
Orchestral Sound Mike Hatch
Orchestral Music Producer Nicholas Parker
Dubbing Mixer Rowan Jennings
Dubbing Editor Karl Mainzer
Online Editor Dominic McMahon
Colourist Michael Sanders
Location Research Anna-Maria Rocca
Production Co-ordinator Faith Harris
Production Manager Alexandra Bridcut
Assistant Producer Cat Dixon
Executive Producer Emma Tutty
Film Editor Samuel Rodriguez Santana
Written, Narrated and Directed by John Bridcut

A Crux Production   (1 x 120')

This film is now available on a Decca DVD (all regions)

Performers taking part in the film:

John Graham-Hall and Allan Clayton (tenors)
Sarah Connolly (mezzo soprano)
Michael Thompson (horn)
BBC Concert Orchestra
Paul Kildea (conductor)

Xavier Phillips (violoncello)

Fitzwilliam String Quartet

Schola Cantorum of Oxford
James Burton (conductor)
 

REVIEWS

Nine years after his award-winning documentary Britten’s Children, John Bridcut has followed it up with another masterful film.  

The Times

This long but well-edited new documentary, full of cultured but wonderfully frank contributors, conjures an engaging image of the man and his work as composer and conductor.

Daily Mail

5.0 out of 5 stars

John Bridcut Knocks It out of the Park (Again) 21 Jan 2014
By John D. Randolph - Published on Amazon.com

John Bridcut must be the best classical music documentarian working today. This film is another excellent addition to his oeuvre. The problem with doing a documentary on a composer like Britten is that so many have already been made. Yet Bridcut finds new ground to till. This film deals with Britten's race with death as he battles to finish his final masterpieces before his health fails him. The production values are wonderful...filled with great interviews and musical performances. It's a moving film. A must for any Britten fan.

Review on Amazon

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