Britten: War Requiem

The premiere recording of Britten’s War Requiem, made under the composer’s direction in 1963 just seven months after its first performance, set the benchmark against which all later versions must be measured. The work, a blend of Wilfred Owen’s war poetry and the Latin Mass for the Dead, sounded a timely warning in the wake of two world wars. The Bach Choir and three distinctive soloists, representing the recently warring nations of Britain, Germany, and Russia, pour their collective souls into Britten’s music. Galina Vishnevskaya apparently relives the horrors of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in the “Libera me,” while Peter Pears and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau prove heartrending advocates for peace and reconciliation.

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