- Britten War Requiem
“My subject is War, and the pity of War.” –poet Wilfred Owen (quoted by composer Benjamin Britten on the title page of his score for War Requiem.)
In the spirit of reconciliation that Britten’s requiem embodies, the NAC Orchestra has invited Germany’s National Youth Orchestra (BJO) to perform this epic work alongside them. To honour Britten’s intention that War Requiem be performed by Russian, German, and English artists, the two orchestras are joined by Russian soprano soloist Albina Shagimuratova, Canadian tenor Isaiah Bell and baryton James Westman.
Commissioned for the consecration of a war-ravaged and rebuilt cathedral in Coventry, London, the War Requiem stands as a memorial to the fallen, and a caution to the living in its damnation of the horror, chaos, and utter futility of war. So resolute was Britten at the premiere of his masterpiece, he requested there be no applause at the end of the performance.
Two orchestras, three soloists, and multiple choirs take the stage for this powerful warning to the world, as compelling in these uncertain times as it was more than 50 years ago.