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Concertgebouw Brugge

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  • Steven Sloane (c) Christoph Fein

  • (c) Christoph Fein

Britten. War Requiem — Bochumer Symphoniker


  • 20.00 Concertzaal
  • 21.40 Expected end time
  • 19.15 Introduction by Jan Christiaens


This large-scale work for two orchestras, two choirs, organ and vocal soloists is a heartrending cry for lasting peace.

A cathedral of sound, that’s the very least one can say about Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem. This large-scale work for two orchestras, two choirs, organ and vocal soloists was performed for the first time at the consecration of the new Coventry Cathedral, built after the original had been destroyed in a World War II bombing raid. With this gigantic ‘sound machine’, Britten generates waves of sound that overwhelm the listener, heightening the effect of the subsequent deeply-touching poetic scenes that turn the listener’s gaze inward.

Also deeply affecting is the way Britten intersperses the timeless Latin Requiem Mass with Wilfred Owen’s poignant war poetry. This World-War-I poet-soldier knew like no other how to capture the horrors of the trenches in frank, hard-hitting verse. Poetry that carries the stench of that mud, set in counterpoint to the refined chants of the funeral liturgy: there could be no more heartrending cry for lasting peace!

Program and performers


Benjamin Britten (1913-1976)
War Requiem, opus 66


Bochumer Symphoniker: orchestra
Rotterdam Symphony Chorus: choir
Octopus Symfonisch Koor: choir
Kinderkoor Opera Vlaanderen: children's choir
Steven Sloane: conductor
Sarah-Jane Brandon: soprano
Ben Johnson: tenor
Thomas Bauer: bass