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Britten: War Requiem [Remastered]
     

Britten: War Requiem [Remastered]

5.0 1
by Benjamin Britten
 
English composer Benjamin Britten (1913-76) lived through both world wars. A devout pacifist, his War Requiem was a musical reaction to the devastation these conflicts wrought. Britten took the traditional Latin requiem text and interpolated poetry by Wilfred Owen, an English writer who lost his life in World War I. "My subject is War, and the pity of War. The

Overview

English composer Benjamin Britten (1913-76) lived through both world wars. A devout pacifist, his War Requiem was a musical reaction to the devastation these conflicts wrought. Britten took the traditional Latin requiem text and interpolated poetry by Wilfred Owen, an English writer who lost his life in World War I. "My subject is War, and the pity of War. The poetry is in the pity. . . . All a poet can do today is warn," Owen wrote. An intensely dramatic score -- calling for a chamber orchestra in addition to the regular full orchestra, and multiple choirs, including a children's chorus -- it stands as a powerful antiwar statement. Composed during the initial years of the cold war, this performance, conducted by Britten himself, was a political statement as well, bringing together the Russian soprano Galina Vishnevskaya, the German baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, and the English tenor Peter Pears (Britten's life partner). Producer John Culshaw, the man responsible for Sir Georg Solti's famous recording of Wagner's Ring cycle, taped this requiem less than a year after the world premiere. This is among the most moving musical documents of the 20th century.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Leonard
What can be said about Britten�s War Requiem that hasn�t already been said? That it is brilliantly composed, endlessly fascinating and profoundly affecting? That it is lyrically heartrending, musically heartbreaking and emotionally devastating? That it is the single most persuasive setting of the Requiem text of the 20th century? That is the single most compelling reason to be a pacifist that�s ever been put to music? It�s all been said before.

What can be said about Britten�s own recording that hasn�t already been said? That the soloists � soprano Galina Vishnevskaya, tenor Peter Pears and baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau � are not only three of the great singers of the 20th century and the creators of their parts but for all intents and purposes definitive? That the Bach Choir, the London Symphony Orchestra Chorus and especially the Highgate School Choir are absolutely magnificent and unbearably moving? That the Melos Ensemble and the London Symphony Orchestra are altogether wonderful and overwhelmingly powerful? That John Culshaw�s production was in its time and remains in our time as vivid as life and immediate as death? That Britten�s conducting is, without a doubt and beyond all argument, unsurpassable? It�s all been said before.

What can be said that hasn�t already been said is that this particular release of the War Requiem includes about 50 minutes in 11 separate cues of Britten�s rehearsals for the recording. These rehearsals don�t add anything to the work or the performance but they do allow the listener to hear Britten create the performance, sometimes note by note, and thereby allow the listener to hear the work with much greater clarity. For those who already own one of the previous releases of this recording, this might not seem like a compelling reason to pick up this release. But for anyone who deeply love the work and the composer, the rehearsals will be fascinating listening.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/16/2006
Label:
Decca
UPC:
0028947575115
catalogNumber:
000638902
Rank:
11016

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. War Requiem, for soprano, tenor, baritone, boys' voices, chorus, chamber orchestra, orchestra & organ, Op. 66
  2. War Requiem, for soprano, tenor, baritone, boys' voices, chorus, chamber orchestra, orchestra & organ, Op. 66: Rehearsing War Requiem. Requiem aeternam. Rehearsa
  3. War Requiem, for soprano, tenor, baritone, boys' voices, chorus, chamber orchestra, orchestra & organ, Op. 66: Rehearsing War Requiem. Dies irae. Rehearsal of th
  4. War Requiem, for soprano, tenor, baritone, boys' voices, chorus, chamber orchestra, orchestra & organ, Op. 66: Rehearsing War Requiem. Dies irae. Discussion in t
  5. War Requiem, for soprano, tenor, baritone, boys' voices, chorus, chamber orchestra, orchestra & organ, Op. 66: Rehearsing War Requiem. Dies irae. Rehearsal of en
  6. War Requiem, for soprano, tenor, baritone, boys' voices, chorus, chamber orchestra, orchestra & organ, Op. 66: Rehearsing War Requiem. Offertorium. Rehearsal
  7. War Requiem, for soprano, tenor, baritone, boys' voices, chorus, chamber orchestra, orchestra & organ, Op. 66: Rehearsing War Requiem. Sanctus. Rehearsal
  8. War Requiem, for soprano, tenor, baritone, boys' voices, chorus, chamber orchestra, orchestra & organ, Op. 66: Rehearsing War Requiem. Sanctus. Discussion in the
  9. War Requiem, for soprano, tenor, baritone, boys' voices, chorus, chamber orchestra, orchestra & organ, Op. 66: Rehearsing War Requiem. Agnus Dei. Discussion in t
  10. War Requiem, for soprano, tenor, baritone, boys' voices, chorus, chamber orchestra, orchestra & organ, Op. 66: Rehearsing War Requiem. Libera me. Discussion in t
  11. War Requiem, for soprano, tenor, baritone, boys' voices, chorus, chamber orchestra, orchestra & organ, Op. 66: Rehearsing War Requiem. Libera me. Rehearsal
  12. War Requiem, for soprano, tenor, baritone, boys' voices, chorus, chamber orchestra, orchestra & organ, Op. 66: Rehearsing War Requiem. Libera me. Rehearsal of cl

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Britten: War Requiem 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
yanere More than 1 year ago
Benjamin Britten knew exactly what he wanted to do with this music. Despite the complexity of what he wanted and the fact that this music has need to express both a somber message there is a celebratory note as he observes the rebirth of the end of a horrific war and a whiff of hope after a nightmarish struggle. He led some of the best performers of the day to a triumphant performance. Soloists (and what soloists they were) orchestra and choir all are excellent. Fun to listen to his comments while conducting practices which illustrate how important it was to get something like perfection done. Perfection or not it is close and a fitting honor for poet Wilfrid Owen and all the victims of the war.