Britten's War Requiem inspires Maggi Hambling exhibition

  • 8 June 2013
  • From the section Suffolk
Maggi Hambling
Image caption Maggi Hambling at her Suffolk home studio with some of her works inspired by Britten's War Requiem

An artist whose sculpture on a Suffolk beach was attacked by vandals is part of a new exhibition in memory of composer Benjamin Britten.

The 66th Aldeburgh Festival, in Snape, is commemorating the centenary of Suffolk-born Britten's birth.

Maggi Hambling, who created the Scallop at Aldeburgh, is showing paintings inspired by his War Requiem.

She said: "I'm trying to confront the reality of war which is that people are killed and maimed."

Hambling's metal Scallop sculpture was unveiled on Aldeburgh beach in 2003 and is inscribed with words from Britten's opera Peter Grimes.

It has been daubed with graffiti on several occasions.

Image caption Scallop was unveiled on Aldeburgh beach in 2003 as a tribute to Britten

'Destruction of beauty'

Britten's War Requiem was premiered in 1962 to commemorate the re-dedication of Coventry Cathedral, which was bombed in World War II.

Hambling's new series of paintings depict war victims and battlefields.

"Britten took classical music, wrung it by the neck and came out of it with his own original voice - a breaking-through which was completely his own," she said.

"We all get used to the flashing imagery of war on the television and I'm a great believer in oil paint and trying to create images that aren't in any way photographic.

"With war there's a destruction of beauty and that is as relevant now as when Britten wrote the War Requiem."

Snap also features work by 15 other artists including Sarah Lucas and Gavin Turk.

As well as a full programme of music, the festival also features the re-opening of the Red House in Aldeburgh, where Britten lived from 1957 until his death in 1976, which has undergone a £4.7m restoration project.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, will be taking part in the traditional festival Aldeburgh Parish Church service which is being held on Sunday 9 June.

The festival runs from 7 to 23 June.

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