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  • Benjamin Britten's War Requiem, op. 66

    25 Aug 2007, 18:02 by evewasframed

    Purpose

    The War Requiem was written for the reconsecration of Coventry Cathedral (the old cathedral is pictured at left), and was first performed there 30 May 1962. Coventry Cathedral had been destroyed during the Battle of Britain in World War II. Britten was commissioned to write a piece for the ceremony marking the completion of a new cathedral, designed by Basil Spence, built along side the the ruins of the original millenium-old structure. Since the work was to be performed inside the new cathedral, it was a good acoustic challenge for Britten. The ceremony was comprised of several works, including Tippett's opera King Priam.

    The War Requiem was not meant to be a pro-British piece or a glorification of British soldiers, but a public statement of Britten's anti-war convictions. It was a denunciation of the wickedness of war, not of other men. The fact that Britten wrote the piece for three specific soloists -- a German baritone (Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau)…