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Britten: War Requiem Hybrid SACD

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Product details

  • Conductor: Gianandrea Noseda
  • Composer: Benjamin Britten
  • Audio CD (7 May 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Hybrid SACD
  • Label: LSO Live
  • ASIN: B00713Y2R6
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 110,820 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Disc 1:

Song Title Time Price
  1. War Requiem: i. Requiem Aeternam - Requiem aeternam 3:36£0.89  Buy MP3 
  2. War Requiem: ii. Requiem Aeternam - Te decet hymnus 3:00£0.89  Buy MP3 
  3. War Requiem: iii. Requiem Aeternam - "What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?" 2:36£0.89  Buy MP3 
  4. War Requiem: iv. Requiem Aeternam - Kyrie eleison 1:32£0.89  Buy MP3 
  5. War Requiem: v. Dies Irae - Dies irae 3:31£0.89  Buy MP3 
  6. War Requiem: vi. Dies Irae - "Bugles sang, saddening the evening air" 2:31£0.89  Buy MP3 
  7. War Requiem: vii. Dies Irae - Liber scriptus 3:00£0.89  Buy MP3 
  8. War Requiem: viii. Dies Irae - "Out there, we've walked quite friendly up to Death" 1:41£0.89  Buy MP3 
  9. War Requiem: ix. Dies Irae - Recordare Iesu pie 3:51£0.89  Buy MP3 
10. War Requiem: x. Dies Irae - Confutatis maledictis 1:04£0.89  Buy MP3 
11. War Requiem: xi. Dies Irae - "Be slowly lifted up, thou long black arm" 2:09£0.89  Buy MP3 
12. War Requiem: xii. Dies Irae - Dies irae 3:00£0.89  Buy MP3 
13. War Requiem: xiii. Dies Irae - "Move him into the sun" 4:10£0.89  Buy MP3 
14. War Requiem: xiv. Dies Irae - Pie Iesu Domine 1:34£0.89  Buy MP3 
15. War Requiem: xv. Offertorium - Domine Jesu Christe 1:18£0.89  Buy MP3 
16. War Requiem: xvi. Offertorium - Sed signifer Sanctus 1:51£0.89  Buy MP3 
17. War Requiem: xvii. Offertorium - "So Abram rose, and clave the wood" 3:22£0.89  Buy MP3 
18. War Requiem: xvii. Offertorium - Hostias et preces tibi 2:39£0.89  Buy MP3 

Disc 2:

Song Title Time Price
  1. War Requiem: xix. Sanctus - Sanctus 7:04£0.89  Buy MP3 
  2. War Requiem: xx. Sanctus - "After the blast of lightning from the East" 3:33£0.89  Buy MP3 
  3. War Requiem: xxi. Agnus Dei - "One ever hangs where shelled roads part" Agnus Dei 3:09£0.89  Buy MP3 
  4. War Requiem: xxii. Libera Me - Libera me 8:02£0.89  Buy MP3 
  5. War Requiem: xxiii. Libera Me - "It seemed that out of battle I escaped" 2:50£0.89  Buy MP3 
  6. War Requiem: xxiv. Libera Me - " 'None', said the other" 6:49£0.89  Buy MP3 
  7. War Requiem: xxv. Libera Me - "Let us sleep now?" In paradisum 4:26£0.89  Buy MP3 
  8. War Requiem: xxvi. Libera Me - Requiescant in pace 1:15£0.89  Buy MP3 

Product Description

CD Description

For his first LSO Live recording, Gianandrea Noseda is joined by three of today s most widely acclaimed singers for a magnificent performance of Benjamin Britten s choral masterpiece. Premiered 50 years ago on 30 May 1962, the 'War Requiem' was commissioned for the re-dedication of Coventry Cathedral, which was destroyed by bombing raids during the Second World War. Using the Latin mass of the dead, interspersed with texts by war poet Wilfred Owen, Britten, a pacifist and conscientious objector, created a work that both mourned the dead and pleaded the futility of war. The 'War Requiem' was to become one of the defining choral works of the 20th Century. Gianandrea Noseda was the first foreign Principal Guest Conductor of the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg and over the past decade his reputation in the opera house and concert hall has blossomed. He regularly conducts the LSO, as well as many of the world s other great orchestras, and is Music Director of the Teatro Regio in Turin. Ian Bostridge, Simon Keenlyside and Sabina Cvilak perform regularly in the world s leading opera houses and are renowned for their performances in Britten s music. The LSO and LSC have both enjoyed long relationships with the composer and appeared on the first recording of the 'War Requiem', conducted by Britten himself.


Celebrating its half century on May 30, Britten s great antiwar oratorio is arguably the only modern classic of its kind to have found the widest audience and increasing critical acclaim. This live recording, from the Barbican Hall last October, was to have been conducted by the LSO s president , Colin Davis, but the demands of the work proved a deterrent to the now 84-year-old conductor. (At the first performance, in Coventry Cathedral, Britten baulked at tackling the whole work himself, opting for the lesser challenge of conducting the chamber ensemble that accompanies the tenor and baritone settings of Wilfred Owen s searing war poems.) Noseda proves a more than worthy substitute, easily encompassing the dramatic scale of the work with its operatic Latin choruses the liturgical text led by a hieratic high priestess soprano. Although LSO forces did not perform at the world premiere, Britten chose them for his iconic recording with the three soloists, Galina Vishnevskaya, Peter Pears and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, for whom he tailor-made their parts. The Slovenian soprano Sabina Cvilak has a bright, silvery penetrating timbre. Ian Bostridge s tenor is as individual and idiosyncractic as Pears s in its own way. Simon Keenlyside, too, is magnificent, while the two choirs relish their grateful, inspiring music. --Hugh Canning, CLASSICAL CD OF THE WEEK, Sunday Times, 15 April 2012

CD of the Week Noseda proves to be more than a worthy substitute [for Sir Colin Davis], easily encompassing the dramatic scale of the work ... Ian Bostridge s tenor is as individual and idiosyncratic as Pears s --Sunday Times (UK)

Noseda offers an account rich in drama and is excellent at knitting together the Latin sections to commentary on war, forging a sense of momentum and cohesion ... Noseda paces the music perfectly, drawing playing and singing of great beauty from his forces ... this performance is incredibly moving and as fine a modern account as one could wish for ... no other orchestra can boast such a pedigree in this work on disc --International Record Review (UK)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By musiclover on 14 May 2012
Format: Audio CD
I own the original recording, part-conducted by Britten himself, and was initially skeptical about this new one. I must admit I was astounded by how great it is. The Italian conductor Gianandrea Noseda brings a great amount of emotive italianate expression and richness to the music which works perfectly with this work and the soloists are perfectly matched. Mix this in with the ever-powerful LSO and the result is a winning recording. Listen to 'Move him into the Sun' and you'll see what I mean... A must-buy in my opinion. Loving the cover image too...)
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Olly Lewis on 8 May 2012
Format: Audio CD
I've had a copy of Britten's own recording of his War Requiem for about 10 years. I've probably only played it on a couple of occasions, but I know its a great recording all the same. In the space of two days I've listened to this new recording twice as many times. Whereas the Britten is solemn and obviously heartfelt, Noseda's reading is electrifying and as a result it packs more of an emotional impact. The quality of the performance and recording is outstanding. Bostridge is at his absolute finest and Noseda brings flair and precision.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By rustee55 on 22 May 2012
Format: Audio CD
What a stunning rendition of Britten's War Requiem! I am so glad the LSO have decided to release this recording as it is such an important piece of music and fully deserves the care and attention the players, soloists and conductor give it. I am a huge fan of this orchestra and it is SUCH a pleasure to be able to hear them on disc. Being able to analyse their playing is a real bonus. I witnessed this performance live in concert in the Barbican and what a joy it is to be able to re-live over and over again!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By M. C. PETER on 29 Jun. 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
A definite collector's item, a "must-have". I urge you to take the time to sit and listen intently to this music. Remember, if you must, that this is not background music as played to bedazzle supermarket trolley pushers. Endeavour to listen and learn, to soak up the whole experience: commit to the music and the performance. If you at first don't really understand, then you are far from being alone, but do persist and come back to your listening . . . and feeling.

More than just music, this is a total experience. Bought from Amazon and delivered in "record" time at the right price.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 11 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
**** 1/2 A pacifist icon done with extra frissons and excitement 30 May 2012
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on
Format: Audio CD
To commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of what is - let's face it - the iconic pacifist statement of the last century, the London Sym. reprises its role as the orchestra that premiered the work. Britten was the conductor in 1962, Decca supplied state-of-the-art sound, and the appearance of soloists from three combatant nations (Fischer-Dieskau, Peter Pears, and Galina Vishnevskaya) turned a moving musical event into an instant classic recording. The War Requiem quickly found international acceptance, with even Karajan performing it (although Stravinsky was unmoved and made a snide comment about hankies at the ready); besides the famous original, one can find an equally eloquent performance under Giulini on BBC Legends. I've heard six or seen performances, both live and on disc, and the best came from Rostropovich, who made a specialty of the work - since Britten was a close friend and Vishnevskaya his wife, Rostropovich had extra reasons to offer extremely powerful readings. It's regrettable that he never recorded the work; A BSO performance around 2001 featured Thomas Quasthoff as baritone soloist, and one would like a recording of that, too (a pirated tape taken off the radio broadcast is in circulation online).

With such a daunting background, any new War Requiem must present itself as special, and this one is. It is sueprcharged emotionally thanks to Noseda's urgent conducting, very much tinged with Verdi and opera in general. The chorus tiptoes in like the conspirators from Un Ballo in Maschera, and with the London Sym. Chorus trained to the hilt as dramatis personae, they make as great an operatic impact as the chorus in the Verdi Requiem. On those two counts alone, along with an impeccable boys' choir, this new version is gripping and satisfying.

Among the vocal soloists, the prize goes to Ian Bostridge. He possesses a reedy, thready voice that I have no liking for, but in this case his delivery of Wilfred Owen's verse is remarkably intelligent and touching, with perfect diction and a wide variety of moods. I would place Bostridge above even Pears in the tenor part. Simon Keenlyside doesn't dramatize the poetry as fervently, and his robust tone mixes peculiarly with Bostridge's thin tone in their duets, yet on every other ground he is first rate, as you'd expect from England's pre-eminent baritone. The soprano has the most thankless part, since Britten wrote a series of difficult declamatory vocal lines set in Latin wile giving her no poetry to move us with (being soldiers' poems, it's appropriate that Owen's words are sung by the men). Vishnevskaya struggled in the premiere recording, and I find that Slovenian soprano Sabina Cvilak does, too; her Slavic wobble isn't pronounced, but it's not appealing, either. She's the reason I am holding back from five stars, although I wouldn't disagree with anyone who didn't hold back.

My only other reservation is that Britten, as a lifelong pacifist, took as his theme the pity of war, which echoes Owen's words and his viewpoint (serving in France in WW I, Owen, who like Britten was gay, survived until almost the very end of the conflict, killed by machine-gun fire as he crossed the Sambre-Oise Canal at the head of a raiding party.). The composer conducted the score with reserve, tenderness, and mournful reflection. Noseda's approach is so biting and edge-of-your-seat that it turns pity into something more visceral and bellicose. Who knows if Britten would have felt betrayed; certainly the audience and critics loved Noseda's interpretation, as I mostly do, too.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A Live Performance of Britten's Deeply Moving WAR REQUIEM 22 July 2012
By Grady Harp - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Though there are many very fine recordings available now of Benjamin Britten's WAR REQUIEM - a work for massive forces including a large orchestra and chorus, three vocal soloists capable of bravado and poetry all in one work, a chamber orchestra, a boys' chorus and an organ - and each has its virtues. This live recording from London's Barbican Hall, a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the work's premiere, is under the grand operatic leadership of Gianandrea Noseda, an Italian conductor who studied piano, composition and conducting in Milan and polished his skills under the tutelage of Donato Renzetti, Myung-Whun Chung and Valery Gergiev: he is at 48 years of age a growingly important conductor in both Europe and the US.

Here he conducts the London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, the choir of Eltham College (a boys' choir), and the soloists Ian Bostridge, Simon Keenlyside and Sabina Cvilak. The tempi are noticeably different than those we are used to hearing, but the overall effect is one of operatic proportions - Noseda captures the desperate, brutal atmosphere that often prevails in this work, as well as the vulnerable, beseeching and all-too-human pleas beneath its roiling surfaces drawing out the work's sense of doom with deep orchestral sound anchored by deep, rumbling percussion and capped by taut, powerful horns and trumpets. The tolling bells that bookend the work are chilling.

The soloists respond to the demands of the score well. Sabina Cvilak manages the excruciating tessitura and leaps of her passages with authority. Ian Bostridge suits the tenor role as well as any singer on record. Wilfred Owens' poetry has rarely if ever been so well enunciated or communicated as it is in Bostridge's resources. Simon Keenlyside is sensitive to the poetry as well as the vocal demands of his part. While everyone will have a favorite recording, this is one that should joining the others as it demonstrates how passionate was Britten's pacifist stance about war. Noseda is definitely in his idiom here and deserves our attention. Grady Harp, July 12
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Performance superb but engineering compromised 29 Jan. 2015
By Martin Krumerman MD - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Although all the performance accolades enumerated above ring true, my enjoyment of this masterpiece is seriously hampered by an exceeding low recorded level on both the cd and sacd layers. Using audiophile planar magnetic headphones of high ( 32) sensitivity and an audiophile headphone amplifier it was necessary to set the volume control just below maximum level in order to achieve a realistic sound level Has nobody else noticed this or is my copy compromised??
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Good work, crowned by the wonderful Sabina Cvilak's sublime singing. 15 Oct. 2013
By Abert - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Some listeners welcome Ian Bostridge and Simon Keenlyside's renditions, some disagree.
I would say that to a certain extent, both gentlemen are able to give a representative performance of the solo pieces and duets with their clear enunications and emotionally highly committed singing.
The orchestra is quite awe-inspiring, and even if you are not exactly in the mood for such work, you would not miss the central theme with this splendid orchestration by Britten, splendidly performed by the LSO here.
The original performance (world premiere) had the soprano part sung by the great Galina Vishneveskaya (Britten/Pears). Sabina Cvilak, however, is a relative unknown to Western operatic world.
A young Slovenian soprano, Ms. Cvilak is destined to become the next operatic superstar soprano.
I heard her live as Mimi in La Boheme a couple of years ago, and kept wondering since while this wonderful artist is not being engaged to Salzburg, to Munich, to La Scala, to Vienna, to MET...
Her voice is a pure ray of golden gleam, seamless, pure and without a single trace of Slavic edge (I don't know how can one hear such in THIS recording, at least).
Sabina has a tremendous stage presence and wonderfully tasteful acting ability.
If you would allow, I would just recommend this recording unreservedly for Ms. Cvilak alone, despite that all others perform equally splendidly here.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A good War Requiem 22 Sept. 2013
By enthusiast - Published on
Format: Audio CD
The War Requiem is made up of an imaginative setting of the Latin Requiem Mass along with songs that set some great war poetry. That the Latin parts owe a debt to Verdi is not the point for their function is surely more conceptual than truly religious. They form a framework for the settings of poems and it is in these that Britten is most clearly inspired to move us. It is where they colour and "leak into" the mass settings that the Latin passages gain real power.

This live account presents the Latin parts very effectively indeed - the chorus is excellent and there are a number of exciting moments - but perhaps with too much of a separation from the poetry settings. With the songs the results are less perfect and they can sometimes sound reduced almost to the extent of playing a sort of recitative role. All three singers sing well but two of them are clearly not as strong as others have been in this work. Ian Bostridge has a lovely voice and is very experienced in singing Britten but on this hearing his tone is sometimes a little thin, grey or light for this work. More strength is needed, I think. At the same time he seems unable to ascape from the shadow of Peter Pears. Some of his phrasing owes much to Pears and yet fails to carry the same passion and meaning. Perhpa he will do better with Pappano when his version is issued. Simon Keenlyside's voice is also attractive enough but is very light and lacks richness. Particularly when the two sing together, one is particularly aware that more can be made of these songs and that better teams have recorded this great work. I am happier with Sabina Cvilak's voice. Her pure tone and perfect tuning rise out of, and ride on, the overall sound in a way that the two men mostly fail to do.

So a good account and I am happy to have it. But other accounts that I know - Britten's (with peerless soloists) and Hickox and Rilling - all seem to provide stronger and more moving experiences with a greater sense of the centrality of the war poetry songs.
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