As an alumni of Gresham’s school, Jamie was a member of a performance of previously unperformed Britten music for solo tenor (performed by James Gilchrist) and chamber choir. Wind Song was written as incidental music but had not been publicly performed until the making of this film.
“Peace and Conflict is a beautiful and touching evocation of Britten’s schooling at Gresham’s and the values there inculcated, which remained with him for life. Rubbing shoulders with Donald Maclean and with the the ghosts of the young Gresham’s soldiers killed in the First World War swirling through the quads, the young Britten develops from a hesitant, watchful student into a steely young man. This is a moving and engrossing film, with terrific performances and tender appreciation of Britten’s music.”
– author of Benjamin Britten: A Life in the Twentieth Century
This drama documentary explores the pacifism nurtured at Gresham’s School that was such a powerful influence on composer Benjamin Britten’s life and work. Episodes from his schooling and early career, illustrated by performances of his music and unique observations from experts and friends, help us understand his growing pacifism.
The film features performances of Britten’s music by tenor James Gilchrist with pianist Iain Burnside, the Benyounes Quartet, cellist Raphael Wallfisch, baritone Gerard Collett and the Gresham School choir and brass group. The narration is spoken by legendary actor John Hurt and interviewees include Anita Lasker Wallfisch, composer Joseph Horovitz and Sue Phipps, Britten’s and Peter Pears’s agent for many years.