Britten War Requiem
November 7 - November 9, 2013
To mark the centenary of the composer's birth, Swiss conductor Charles Dutoit leads one of the greatest 20th-century works for chorus and orchestra, Benjamin Britten's War Requiem. Written in 1961-62, this moving work was commissioned for the consecration of the rebuilt Coventry Cathedral, destroyed during a bombing raid in World War II. Britten's piece takes a firm pacifist stance, setting World War I-era poetry by Wilfred Owen-sung by the two male soloists-interleaved with his setting of the traditional Latin Mass for the dead. Following the composer's intention, the present performances bring together three soloists-one Russian, one English, and one German-from countries representing three major factions in the agonies of World War II. The Boston Symphony Orchestra gave the American premiere of this great work at Tanglewood in 1963 under Erich Leinsdorf.