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Britten War Requiem op. 66
Britten’s non-liturgical setting of the Requiem Mass was commissioned for the 1962 consecration of Coventry Cathedral, which was rebuilt after the destruction of the original in the World War II. The traditional Latin mass text is interspersed with settings of poems by Wilfred Owen, written during World War I. The soloists are joined by chorus, boys’ choir, organ, full orchestra and a chamber orchestra. The latter provides intimate accompaniment to the settings of Owen’s poetry, here sung by English tenor James Gilchrist and German baritone Stephan Loges; the full orchestra is used for the Latin text sung by soprano soloist and choirs. All forces come together for the devastating finale.
Concerts are held in York Minster by kind permission of the Chapter of York