Lennox & Freda
By Tony Scotland
An improbable love story set in the musical avant-garde of the 1930s and ’40s. Born into a well-connected family, the composer Lennox Berkeley was at Oxford in the ‘Brideshead’ years, then settled in Paris and became a Catholic. Through a close friendship with Ravel he was introduced to Nadia Boulanger (with whom he studied for six years) and to the gay society of ‘Le Boeuf sur le Toit’. Back in England again he fell in love with Benjamin Britten and moved in with him in Suffolk until he was displaced by Peter Pears. Throughout the war Lennox lived in London with a young RAF officer, and volunteered as an air raid warden during the Blitz. In the BBC Music Department he met Freda Bernstein, twenty years his junior, and during the winter of 1946, to the considerable surprise of his friends, he married her. Within ten years he had become the father of three sons, a devoted husband, a happier man and one of the foremost composers of his generation. Lennox & Freda explores the contrasting backgrounds of the protagonists to explain how their paths crossed, why marriage was the making of them, despite the accommodations it involved. Drawing on his extensive original research, Tony Scotland presents new perspectives on the Oxford of Auden and Waugh; the Paris of Stravinsky, Diaghilev and Poulenc; the Somerset Maugham set on the French Riviera; Dylan Thomas, William Glock and Humphrey Searle during the Battle of Britain; Eddy Sackville-West, Tippett, Bliss and Boult at the BBC; and Britten and Pears at Aldeburgh. Lennox & Freda is more than a portrait of an unconventional marriage, it is also a record of a generation – and a vanished way of life. A hardback of 608 pages with 16 pages of black and white illustrations, two genealogical charts, a Bibliography and an Index, Lennox & Freda was published on 1 November 2010 by Michael Russell (Publishing) Ltd., Wilby Hall, Wilby, Norwich NR16 2JP (measuring 234 x156 mm; ISBN 978-0-85955-319-3) at £28.
For further information about this book visit the Lennox & Freda website at http://www.lennoxandfreda.com
For further information about Lennox Berkeley visit the Lennox Berkeley Society at http://www.lennoxberkeley.org.uk
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