Britten: War Requiem

Posted on Apr 20, 2008

Benjamin Britten: War Requiem

Saturday, April 19, and Sunday, April 20, 2008

Pre-concert Lecture:

Duke musicologist Philip Rupprecht (author of Britten’s Musical Language, Cambridge University Press) will lecture on “Public memory and private anguish in Britten’s War Requiem.” Room 104, Mary Duke Biddle Music Building, East Campus, Duke University, Durham, Friday, April 18, 4:00 p.m. Free and open to the public.

Program notes by Diana de la Cour (We Were There)
with texts and translations

Program notes by Chia Han-Leon (The Flying Inkpot)

Program notes on h2g2 (BBC on-line encyclopedia)

Resources on the Britten-Pears Foundation Web site:
Background, First performance, Further reading, Links & recordings
Commentary by Andrew Plant

Article by Arthur D. Coleman: Music and the Psychology of Pacifism: Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem

Musical/textual overview by Rodney Wynkoop (PDF)

Text and translation (with links to audio clips) (Caltech)

A literal translation of the Latin Requiem text by John Davies et al.

CD Recordings

Conductor’s pick:

Benjamin Britten, The Bach Choir, Highgate School Choir, London Symphony Orchestra & Chorus, Melos Ensemble, Decca (1963)

Recording info. at (original CD release)
Recording info. at
(remastered version with rehearsal sequences)
Recording info. at Decca

Carlo Maria Giulini, Wandsworth School Boys Choir, New Philharmonia Orchestra & Chorus,
Melos Ensemble, BBC Legends (1969)
Recording info. at
Recording info. at BBC Legends (Medici Arts)

Richard Hickox, London Symphony Orchestra & Chorus, Chandos (1991)
Recording info. at
Recording info. at Chandos
(includes link to download CD booklet as PDF)

Kurt Masur, London Philharmonic Orchestra & Choir, London Philharmonic (2005)
Recording info. at
Recording info. at London Philharmonic Orchestra

Simon Rattle, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra & Chorus, Boys of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, EMI Classics (1983)
Recording info. at
Recording info. at EMI Classics

CD Reviews

by Terry Barfoot at MusicWeb International (Giulini)

by Rob Barnett at MusicWeb International (Rattle)

by R. E. B. at Classical CD Review (Hickox)

by John Quinn at MusicWeb International (Britten)

by Rob Witts at (Masur)
review of the concert at which the live recording was made

Composer’s Biography

Resources on the Britten-Pears Foundation Web site:
Brief biography
Longer biography
Animated timeline of Britten’s life

Biography by Rob Barnett (MusicWeb International)
with links to list of works, discography, articles

Links to audio clips of interviews with Britten

Note-Learning Aids

CyberBass: MIDI tutorial — hear your vocal part on one speaker and the rest of the choral parts on the other speaker.

Scorch Electronic Scores: — hear your part or all parts while following the score; start or stop wherever you want, change tempo, or transpose to a different key. Requires free Sibelius Scorch plugin.

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