Britten: War Requiem / Ian Bostridge, Simon Keenlyside, Sabina Cvilak - Noseda

Audio Samples

>Britten, Benjamin : War Requiem, Op. 66

Album Summary

>Britten, Benjamin : War Requiem, Op. 66
Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

"Noseda proves a more than worthy substitute [for Colin Davis], easily encompassing the dramatic scale of the work...Sabina Cvilak has a bright, silvery penetrating timbre. Ian Bostridge’s tenor is as individual and idiosyncractic as Pears’s in its own way. Simon Keenlyside, too, is magnificent, while the two choirs relish their grateful, inspiring music." -The Sunday Times

For his first LSO Live recording, Gianandrea Noseda is joined by three of today's most widely acclaimed singers for a magnificent performance of Benjamin Britten's choral masterpiece. Premiered 50 years ago, the War Requiem saw its composer unite many of the themes that ran through his music and beliefs. Britten had been commissioned to write a work for the re-dedication of Coventry Cathedral, which had been destroyed during devastating bombing raids on the town during the Second World War. As a young man, Britten had written many choral works based on religious texts before achieving fame as a composer of opera. He was also a pacifist and a conscientious objector during the War. Using the Latin mass of the dead, interspersed with texts by war poet Wilfred Owen, he created a work that both mourned the dead and pleaded the futility of war. Leading the London Symphony Orchestra and London Symphony Chorus, Noseda is joined by soloists Ian Bostridge, Simon Keenlyside and Sabina Cvilak.

"The LSO and its Chorus are on cracking form, and the soloists are as good as you will getNo one should be without the composer’s recording, also with the LSO, but half a century later, Noseda’s Dramatic, pulsating account represents another landmark." -The Financial Times

"Noseda offers an account rich in drama...forging a sense of momentum and cohesion..Few singers deliver text with as much conviction and engagement as Bostridge, who finds the right tone for the bitterness of war...[Keenlyside] sounds every inch the soldier, conveying the pain of war and a bleak sense of loss...Cvilak is very good, particularly fine in floating her high notes in the 'Lacrimosa'..this performance is incredibly moving." -International Record Review

"The two-CD set certainly captures the thrill of the moment in a reading notable both for its hushed intensity and dramatic sweep. Noseda’s an Italian, after all, and the clamorous Dies irae and supercharged choral prayers wouldn’t disgrace a Verdi opera...The LSO and the London Symphony Chorus are the performance’s rock: they start on top form and stay that way. Another essential recording, with or without the Britten centenary." -The Times

HBDirect.com - Paul Ballyk, May 2012
Brand new this month is Gianandrea Noseda's very first recording on the LSO Live label. Getting right down to business, he and the London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus have recorded Benjamin Britten's monumental War Requiem, featuring a splendid cast of vocal soloists - Ian Bostridge, Simon Keenlyside and Sabina Cvilak. Britten's War Requiem came to be through a commission to write a work for the re-dedication of Coventry Cathedral after the original 14th century structure was destroyed in bombing raids during World War Two. Scored for two orchestras, organ, chorus, boys' choir and three vocal soloists, listening to this is an extremely powerful and moving experience. While you shouldn't be without the composer's own recording, Noseda's dramatic reading is, without question, worthy to sit along side it.

American Record Guide, September / October 2012
This is an exciting performance boasting eminent soloists, a world-class orchestra, and an excellent choir with the music in its blood. In the booklet there's a wonderful picture of a chorus member's vocal score autographed by the likes of Peter Pears, Colin Davis, Richard Hickox, Galina Vishnevskaya, Mstislav Rostropovich, Robert Tear, Anthony Rolfe Johnson, Heather Harper, Felicity Lott, Bryn Terfel, and others who had joined the orchestra for War Requiems over the years. This is, of course, the orchestra and choir conducted by the composer on that magical first-ever recording with Pears, Vishnevskaya, and Fischer- Dieskau as soloists. Talk about a proprietary connection!

Sunday Times, 15th April 2012
Noseda proves a more than worthy substitute [for Colin Davis], easily encompassing the dramatic scale of the work...Sabina Cvilak has a bright, silvery penetrating timbre. Ian Bostridge's tenor is as individual and idiosyncractic as Pears's in its own way. Simon Keenlyside, too, is magnificent, while the two choirs relish their grateful, inspiring music.

Financial Times, 28th April 2012
The LSO and its Chorus are on cracking form, and the soloists are as good as you will get... No one should be without the composer's recording, also with the LSO, but half a century later, Noseda's Dramatic, pulsating account represents another landmark.

International Record Review, May 2012
Noseda offers an account rich in drama...forging a sense of momentum and cohesion..Few singers deliver text with as much conviction and engagement as Bostridge, who finds the right tone for the bitterness of war...[Keenlyside] sounds every inch the soldier, conveying the pain of war and a bleak sense of loss...Cvilak is very good, particularly fine in floating her high notes in the 'Lacrimosa'..this performance is incredibly moving.

The Times, 4th May 2012
The two-CD set certainly captures the thrill of the moment in a reading notable both for its hushed intensity and dramatic sweep. Noseda's an Italian, after all, and the clamorous Dies irae and supercharged choral prayers wouldn't disgrace a Verdi opera...The LSO and the London Symphony Chorus are the performance's rock: they start on top form and stay that way. Another essential recording, with or without the Britten centenary.

The Guardian, 10th May 2012
[Noseda] brings a strong sense of Italianate lyricism to bear on the score, reminding us of Britten's conscious debt to Verdi's Requiem. The choral singing is fervent and intense, the playing fierce and sensitive by turns. Sabina Cvilak is the thrilling, hieratic soprano, though her male counterparts.

BBC Music Magazine, June 2012
[Noseda] delivers it afresh as a scintillating achievement...Sabina Cvilak's soprano has the focus, though not always the required gravitas, while tenor Ian Bostridge brings a piercing sincerity to all his solos...Keenlyside takes a different approach: sonorous, commanding, but sometimes lacking the necessary bitter edge...Nevertheless, this is an important issue: Noseda's judgement of pace is unerring, and the orchestra and chorus simply superb.

classicalsource.com, 31st May 2012
Noseda conducts the most blazing War Requiem I have heard in any circumstances...The LSO's brass section rips into the score's martial elements with full-blooded ferocity...This is a searing recording, a match for the very best and more powerful than any other version I know in communicating Britten's anti-war agenda. Fifty years on, here is a War Requiem for our own troubled times.

CD Choice
In some ways this is the most affecting and emotionally draining reading the work has ever received - and that includes the premiere recording by Britten itself, which established a high benchmark for many years. This is a considerable achievement.

Gramophone Magazine, July 2012
Noseda's live performance seeks to take the audience on a journey from the edge of consciousness to the blazing fires of the battlefield...Bostridge spins a beautiful line in the tenor's lyrical passages...Keenlyside is excellent throughout...Decisive and confident, the soprano Sabina Cvilak has the Slavic edge to her voice that has seemed hard-wired into the part since the incomparable Vishnevskaya.

MusicWeb International, July 2012
The LSO Live account has great clarity and tonal sophistication. The Eltham choir is crisp and well balanced...The LSO certainly play well and the brass in the Dies irae are especially thrilling...All else pales next to Bostridge's deeply moving, extraordinarily nuanced singing in Futility...The LSO chorus deserve a mention in dispatches. Their quiet singing in Pie Jesu is ineffably beautiful.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Barbican, London (10/09/2011/10/11/2011).



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Works Details

>Britten, Benjamin : War Requiem, Op. 66
  • Conductor: Gianandrea Noseda
  • Ensemble: London Symphony Orchestra Chorus
  • Notes: Barbican, London (10/09/2011/10/11/2011)
  • Running Time: 61 min. 22 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1961