Saturday, February 18, 2006

Benjamin Britten's War Requiem

Well, since I'm writting my mass class paper about this piece, I thought I'd listen to it again. I heard a performance of it in Cincinnati, about a month after the attacks of September 11th. For yall who don't know, this piece is a combination of the traditional latin requiem mass text and modern anti-war poetry. It makes for a very intersting and ironic mix. This piece is both hauntingly beautiful at times while at other times very difficult to listen to. This piece is a huge production. A full orchestra, full choir, a chamber orchestra, soprano, tenor, baritone soloist, and boys choir are required to perform this piece.

The full chrous, orchestra, and soprano sing the litergical text, while the tenor and bartione sing the poetry. Through the work they develop a relationship with each other. The Libera Me finally reveals the true nature of their relationship. The baritone is man that the tennor killed in battle yesterday. They sing that they must sleep now. The soprano soloist and the boys choir enters back in a beatiful closing sequence. The last chord of the piece is in a hauntingly surprising key. When I went to the performance of this piece at the end, for about a minute no one clapped or moved. All were still as we thought about what we just had experienced. The war requiem is trully an experience. And whether a pacifist or not, everyone is moved by the reminder of the ravages of war.

If you ever get a chance to attend a performance of this piece, GO!

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