Britten War Requiem

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As we are nearing Remembrance Sunday I thought I would highlight a piece that is often played at this time of year. During the night of 14 November 1940 he 14th-century St Michael's Cathedral in the centre of Coventry was almost completely destroyed by the bombs the Luftwaffe dropped on the city during the Coventry blitz. Twenty-two years later, a new cathedral, designed by architect Basil Spence on a site directly adjacent to the ruins of the original, was consecrated, and  Britten's War Requiem, commissioned for the occasion, was premiered. It turned out to be one of the greatest choral works of the twentieth century. The piece juxtaposes the anti-war poetry of Wilfred Owen (Britten himself was a conscientious objector) and the Latin Requiem Mass. I always feel when I play it a relevancy to today and a constant warning of the ability of man to turn on itself. 

Laura CampbellComment