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War Requiem, Op. 66

By Benjamin Britten

Look War Requiem, Op. 66
Detailed Description

War Requiem, Op. 66 ((1961-62) Vocal Score). Composed by Benjamin Britten (1913-1976). For Choral, Chorus, Orchestra (Vocal Score). BH Large Choral. 188 pages. Boosey & Hawkes #M060015564. Published by Boosey & Hawkes (HL.48009029).

for soprano, tenor and baritone solos, chorus, orchestra, chamber orchestra, boys' choir and organ

Scoring: 3 (3=picc), 2, ca, 3 (III=cl in Eb and bass cl), 2, dbl bn; 6, 4, 3, 1; timps, 4 perc (2 sd, td, bd, tamb, trgl, cymb, castanets, whip, Chinese blocks, gong, bells in C and F#, vibr, antique cymbals in C and F#); piano, grand org (ad lib); strings.

Chamber orch: fl (=picc), ob (=ca), cl, bn; hn; perc (timp, sd, bd, cymb, gong); harp, string quintet (2 vl, vla, vc, db)Chamber organ (or harmonium) to accompany boys' choir

Text: Missa pro defunctis and Wilfred Owen

Publisher: Boosey & Hawkes

Difficulty level: 5

for soprano, tenor and baritone solos, chorus, orchestra, chamber orchestra, boys' choir and organScoring: 3 (3=picc), 2, ca, 3 (III=cl in Eb and bass cl), 2, dbl bn; 6, 4, 3, 1; timps, 4 perc (2 sd, td, bd, tamb, trgl, cymb, castanets, whip, Chinese blocks, gong, bells in C and F#, vibr, antique cymbals in C and F#); piano, grand org (ad lib); strings.Chamber orch: fl (=picc), ob (=ca), cl, bn; hn; perc (timp, sd, bd, cymb, gong); harp, string quintet (2 vl, vla, vc, db)Chamber organ (or harmonium) to accompany boys' choirText: Missa pro defunctis and Wilfred OwenPublisher: Boosey & HawkesDifficulty level: 5

His inspired idea was to mix the words of the Missa pro defunctis (Mass for the Dead) in Latin with the poems of one of the greatest of the First of the spirit War poets, Wilfred Owen. He uses nine of Owen's poems which form a kind of song cycle which weaves in and out of the formal sections of the Latin Mass.

When Britten's recording was released the following year it sold 200,000 copies within the first five months which was almost unheard of for a classical work, and possibly unique for a large-scale contemporary one. This was the moment of destiny for which Britten had been preparing all his adult life. The peace movements of the 1960s, the Cuban missile crisis, nuclear testing, anti-nuclear protests, the war-weariness of the seemingly endless conflict in Vietnam, all these things contributed to the public's readiness to hear this message which Britten so powerfully addressed.

Duration: 85 minutes

Paul Spicer, Lichfield, 2011.

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