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Thread: BENJAMIN BRITTEN: His War Requiem 1962

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    Default BENJAMIN BRITTEN: His War Requiem 1962

    Benjamin Britten(1913-1976) was an English composer, conductor, and pianist. He showed prodigious talent from an early age, composing Quatre Chansons françaises for soprano and orchestra at the age of fourteen. He first came to public attention with a cappella choral work A Boy Was Born. With the premiere of his opera Peter Grimes in 1945 he entered international fame and, for the next fifteen years, he devoted much of his compositional attention to writing operas, several of which now appear regularly on international stages. Britten's interests as a composer were wide-ranging. He produced important music in such varied genres as: orchestral, choral, chamber, instrumental, solo vocal--much of it written for the tenor Peter Pears--as well as film music. He also took a great interest in writing music for child and amateur performers.

    Three months before my pioneering-travelling life for the Canadian Baha’i community began at the age of 18 in August 1962, Britten’s War Requiem Opus 66 was premiered for the reconsecration of Coventry Cathedral on 30 May 1962. That Cathedral, a 14th century structure, had been destroyed in 1940 in the bombing of WW2. Nine poems of Wilfred Owen, the famed English war poet, were interwoven by tenor and baritone voices into the orchestration.-Ron Price, with thanks to “War Requiem,” in Wikipedia, 22 July 2010.

    I knew nothing of you, Benjamin, back then
    in ’62 when I was 18 and just trying to get a
    high enough mark to become a uni student &
    the only youth in another Baha’i community.
    Your War Requiem could have been…..with
    those poems of Wilfred Owen…a very fitting
    note for the years and the battles ahead for me
    in my war with no guns, swords or uniforms..
    a third world war which, as Henry Miller once(1)
    wrote would be more destructive than either of
    the first two, the ones my father and grandfather
    had to fight in the first half of the 20th century….

    (1) The American write Henry Miller wrote in 1941 that:

    “When the destruction brought about by the Second World War is complete another kind of destruction will set in. And it will be far more drastic, far more terrible than the destruction which we are now witnessing. The whole planet will be in the throes of revolution. And the fires will rage until the very foundations of the present world crumble.”-See The Phoenix and the Ashes, Geoffrey Nash, George Ronald, Oxford, 1984, p.55.

    Ron Price
    22 July 2010
    Last edited by RonPrice; Jul-22-2010 at 08:56. Reason: to add some words
    married for 43 years, a teacher for 35, a writer and editor for 10 and a Baha'i for 51(in 2010).

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