Composer’s centenary is marked with a 50p coin inlaid with Tennyson’s line that Britten set to musicThe centenary of the birth of composer and conductor Benjamin Britten will be marked tomorrow by the issue of a new 50p coin, the first of Britain’s decimalised currency to feature a line of poetry.Instead of an image of Britten himself, the designer of the new coin, artist Tom Phillips, has taken a line from Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s poem The Splendour Falls on Castle Walls, which was set to music by Britten in his Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings. “Blow Bugle Blow, set the wild echoes flying” is written around Britten’s name. Phillips joked that he wanted to preserve the nation’s ability to toss a coin and cry “heads or tails”.”We couldn’t have two heads – the Queen’s being on the other side – on a coin. How on earth would the country start its cricket matches with such a thing?” said Phillips, who previously designed a £5 Royal Jubilee coin and a souvenir Olympics coin, which weighed a kilogram. In 2005 he produced another 50p, struck to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Samuel Johnson’s dictionary. That, too, featured words rather than an …read more

Via: The Guardian | Books