Tuesday, November 11, 2008

What passing bells for these who die as cattle?

Further to the theme of Armistice and World War I. Benjamin Britten's 1962 War Requiem, one of the most important works in 20th century classical music, was inspired by it as well. Although writen for the reconsecration of Coventry Cathedral destroyed in World War II, Britten found his inspiration in that earlier clash. For the text of the War Requiem, Britten interspersed the Latin Mass for the Dead with nine mindshattering poems written by Wilfred Owen, a World War I footsoldier who was killed a week before the Armistice. Both the orginal version led by the composer and the 1983 version under Rattle are excellent versions of this modern masterpiece. For this blog entry, I link to a fascinating documentary on the War Requiem. Highly recommended.