Benjamin Britten: War Requiem
Cleveland Philharmonic Choir
Adult £20, Concession (over 60) £18, Child (under 16) £5
The poetry of Wilfred Owen, sung by Mark Padmore and Roderick Williams, is woven throughout this piece, powerfully giving voice to those who suffer in war. These distinguished soloists, in demand throughout the world, are accompanied by a chamber orchestra, conducted by Xenophon Kelsey MBE.
Cleveland Philharmonic Choir, with guest choirs Newcastle Choral Society and Northern Spirit Singers, form a chorus over 200 strong. Together with soprano soloist Rachel Nicholls, they sing words from the Latin Requiem Mass, set in wonderfully imaginative ways. They are partnered by the Mowbray Orchestra conducted by John Forsyth MBE.
High above the massed choirs, and accompanied by a chamber organ, is a choir of forty boys and girls from Cleveland Philharmonic Junior Choir, Durham Cathedral choristers and the choir of St Peter’s Church, Stockton-on-Tees. Daniel Cook, Master of the Choristers at Durham Cathedral, is their conductor. Theirs is a distant, mystic sound-world.
The War Requiem was written for the consecration of the new Coventry Cathedral in May 1962, the original mediaeval building having been destroyed in a bombing raid in September 1941. In a protest against violence and cruelty, Britten used all his resources to create a work which is both awe-inspiring yet intensely personal. It speaks to everyone – new and experienced listeners alike - and allows an opportunity for reflection on the eve of the centenary of the Armistice which ended the First World War.