University of Hartford "H" Magazine - Winter 2019

University of Hartford

When the University of Hartford was incorporated just over 50 years ago by business and community leaders, they envisioned a center of education and culture for Greater Hartford. Read more...

WWUH FCC On Line Public File


Persons with disabilities who wish to access the WWUH Public File may contact John Ramsey at:

Visit WWUH on Facebook    Follow WWUH on Twitter

Sunday Afternoon at the Opera - Britten: War Requiem

05/26/2024 1:00 pm
05/26/2024 4:30 pm


Sunday Afternoon at the Opera host Keith Brown writes:

Benjamin Britten's War Requiem (1962) has gone over the air on this program three times before on the Sunday of the Memorial Day weekend of 1988. 1990, and 2014. We remember how the American Doughboys fought and died alongside British troops in the 1914-18 "War to End All Wars." Britten's musical memorial to the war dead has more to do with the Armistice ending World War I on November 11, 1918. That's why I also broadcast it on Sunday, November 6, 2005.

Britten was a pacifist. He declined to fight in World War II. The poetry of Wilfred Owen, killed at the tender age of 25 just before the Armistice, served as a constant reminder to Britten of the horror and futility of war. "All a poet can do is warn," so Wilfred Owen wrote. Britten's settings of his poems constitute a ghastly monumental musical warning to the world of what war should have taught us, but which it seems we still refuse to learn. Owen's verse is interwoven with the Latin text of the Mass for the Dead.

The Britten War Requiem was recorded for the British Decca record company shortly after its concert premiere with the composer conducting the London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, the London Bach Choir, Melos Ensemble and Highgate School boys' choir with distinguished vocal soloists of the mid twentieth century. In the lineup are Britten's longtime lover and musical partner tenor Peter Pears, German baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Russian soprano Galina Vishnevskaya. This is the defining recorded interpretation of this work, reissued by Decca in CD format in 1999.