With Pierre-Laurent Aimard at the helm, the Aldeburgh Festival is even more than ever the place to be in terms of musical excellence. In June, in England, there's so much going, but for me. Aldeburgh takes priority because there's always something very special you don't get elsewhere.
Aldeburgh has, of course, been a cradle for British composers, but, as Britten intended, it's not insular but has a wider international outlook. So the concert on 19th June placed the UK premiere of George Benjamin's Duet for piano and Orchestra (2008), with Benjamin's spiritual forebears, Debussy, Ravel and Elliott Carter. Aimard was the soloist, Benjamin conducted, and in attendance was Elliott Carter himself, aged 100 1/2, still sprightly and full of vim. No doubt this music will be heard many times in years to come, but being present on this occasion felt like being part of a family, of a creative community such as Britten and Pears envisioned when they started the Aldeburgh Festival 62 years ago.