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Britten: War Requiem, Sinfonia da Requiem, etc / Hickox

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> War Requiem, Op. 66 - Libera Me
> Sinfonia da Requiem, Op. 20 - I. Lacrymosa
> Sinfonia da Requiem, Op. 20 - II. Dies Irae
> Sinfonia da Requiem, Op. 20 - III. Requiem aeternam
> Ballad of Heroes, Op. 14 - I. Funeral March
> Ballad of Heroes, Op. 14 - II. Scherzo - Dance of Death
> Ballad of Heroes, Op. 14 - III. Recitative and Choral

Album Summary

>Britten, Benjamin : War Requiem, Op. 66
>Britten, Benjamin : Sinfonia da Requiem, Op. 20
>Britten, Benjamin : Ballad of Heroes, for high voice, chorus & orchestra, Op. 14
Performers Conductor Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Gramophone - James Jolly
A modern version of the work that draws great performances from everyone involved and in sound that really supports the complex layers of the piece

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
Britten's War Requiem is the composer's most public statement of his pacifism.

The work is cast in six movements and calls for massive forces: full chorus, soprano soloist and full orchestra evoke mourning, supplication and guilty apprehension; boys' voices with chamber organ, the passive calm of a liturgy which points beyond death; tenor and baritone soloists with chamber orchestra, the passionate outcry of the doomed victims of war.

The most recent challenger to the composer's classic Decca version offers up-to-date recording, excellently managed to suggest the various perspectives of the vast work, and possibly the most convincing execution of the choral writing to date under the direction of a conductor, Richard Hickox, who's a past master at obtaining the best from a choir in terms of dynamic contrast and vocal emphasis. Add to that his empathy with all that the work has to say and you've a cogent reason for acquiring this version even before you come to the excellent work of the soloists. In her recording swan-song, Harper at last commits to disc a part she created. It's right that her special accents and impeccable shaping of the soprano's contribution have been preserved for posterity.

Shirley-Quirk, always closely associated with the piece, sings the three baritone solos and duets with rugged strength and dedicated intensity.

He's matched by Langridge's compelling and insightful reading, with his notes and words more dramatic than Pears's approach. The inclusion of two additional pieces, neither of them short, helps to give this version an added advantage even if the Ballad of Heroes is one of Britten's slighter works.



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Works Details

>Britten, Benjamin : War Requiem, Op. 66
  • Performers: Philip Langridge; Heather Harper (Soprano); Roderick Elms (Organ); John Shirley-Quirk (Bass Baritone)
  • Conductor: Richard Hickox
  • Ensemble: London Symphony Chorus
  • Notes: St. Jude's Church, Central Square, London, England (02/24/1991-02/28/1991)
  • Running Time: 84 min. 31 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1961

>Britten, Benjamin : Sinfonia da Requiem, Op. 20
  • Conductor: Richard Hickox
  • Ensemble: London Symphony Orchestra
  • Notes: St. Jude's Church, Central Square, London, England (02/24/1991-02/28/1991)
  • Running Time: 21 min. 12 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1940

>Britten, Benjamin : Ballad of Heroes, for high voice, chorus & orchestra, Op. 14
  • Performer: Martyn Hill
  • Conductor: Richard Hickox
  • Ensemble: London Symphony Orchestra
  • Notes: St. Jude's Church, Central Square, London, England (02/24/1991-02/28/1991)
  • Running Time: 18 min. 16 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1939