I hope it’ll make people think a bit,” wrote Benjamin Britten of the War Requiem, the work that marked the consecration of the new Coventry Cathedral in 1962. Read his quote with a pause afterwards for the understatement to thud home. Love or hate the War Requiem, you can’t be unaffected by the way in which Britten’s music enables the collision of the Latin requiem mass with Wilfred Owen’s poetry. Even a bad performance makes you think. And this one, with the forces of English National Opera securely conducted by Martyn Brabbins, is a very long way from that.
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