[WATCH] Britten’s War Requiem performed at the Royal Albert Hall, 1964
Given that 2018 marks the centenary of the end of the First World War, conflict is a major theme in this year’s Proms. Few pieces respond to it more eloquently than Benjamin Britten‘s choral and orchestral work, written for the 1961 reopening of the bombed Coventry Cathedral. It is built from the framework of the Catholic mass for the dead, interleaved with poetry by Wilfred Owen. A committed pacifist, Britten spares nothing in making us feel war’s brutality and pity, from the searing setting of Owen’s Anthem for Doomed Youth (“What passing bells for these who die as cattle”) to the offstage, disembodied choral line that floats high above the violent, churning world depicted by the orchestra.
Prom 72: Britten’s War Requiem (Thu 6 Sep)