Britten War Requiem

Benjamin Britten


Canterbury Festival
26 October 2013, 7.30pm

Evelina Dobracheva soprano
Benjamin Hulett tenor
Benjamin Appl bass
Canterbury Philharmonic Orchestra
Canterbury Choral Society
Canterbury Choral Society Youth Choir
Richard Cooke Conductor

VENUE: Canterbury Cathedral

TICKETS: £28.50, £25, £18, £10

Canterbury Festival
Canterbury Cathedral

Benjamin Britten War Requiem:
One of the enduring compositions of the 20th century

Our next concert in Canterbury Cathedral celebrates the centenary of the birth of Benjamin Britten, widely considered to be the finest of all Britain’s modern composers. Canterbury Festival 2013 will include Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem. The work is written on three levels. The main choir and orchestra sing Latin text based on the Requiem Mass and between these sections are nine settings of First World War poems by Wilfred Owen, sung by the tenor and baritone soloists. The closing section of ‘Reconciliation’ represents the pinnacle of the work, and its overriding theme. The Canterbury Choral Society Youth Choir will sing the part of the Boy’s Choir, an ‘angelic’ comment from afar, as it were looking down on the world’s troubles from Heaven.

The soloists are drawn according to Britten’s plan, from Russia, England and Germany (though the Soviets would not let Galina Vishnevskaya leave Russia to take part in the first performance).

Our soprano, Evelina Dobracheva, is an international star who is well-known for her performances of the War Requiem. She sang the War Requiem in St. Paul’s Cathedral in a broadcast performance earlier this year, and will sing it again next year in New York’s Carnegie Hall next April.  She has also recorded it with the Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra.

Benjamin Hulett is well-known to us for his performances with Canterbury Choral Society of Monteverdi’s Vespers and Handel’s Messiah.  One of the outstanding tenors of the rising generation, his voice is perfectly suited to Britten’s poignant setting of Owen’s poem which is performed alongside the Agnus Dei.

Benjamin Appl, another rising star, was the last singer to be mentored by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, the German baritone who sang in the first performance in Coventry, and also on Britten’s own recording.


Read more about Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem and read reviews of other performances of this great work

Listen to the Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Rev Justin Welby, explaining the significance of Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem to Mark Lawson on BBC Radio 4′s Front Row Cultural Exchange (Monday 13 May, 2013)