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Britten: War Requiem

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Audio CD, 1 Aug 1984
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Product details

  • Performer: Elisabeth Söderström, Robert Tear, Thomas Allen
  • Orchestra: Oxford Christ Church Cathedral Choir, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra Chorus
  • Conductor: Sir Simon Rattle
  • Composer: Benjamin Britten
  • Audio CD (1 Aug. 1984)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: EMI
  • ASIN: B000025OLF
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 149,564 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Requiem aeternam
  2. Dies irae
  3. Offertorium

Disc: 2

  1. Sanctus
  2. Agnus Dei
  3. Libera me

Product description

SODERSTROM / TEAR / ALLEN / RA

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
a great companion to the britten recording
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Format: Audio CD
As with any other recording of the War Requiem (or Peter Grimes or any other piece, that Britten himself recorded along with Peter Pears), I feel obliged to measure this one against Britten's own, fabulous 1963 recording out on Decca.
This recording is certainly up to the challenge: Rattle conducts his large forces with much drama and supports the singers, soloists as well as choir beutifully, so the text gets top priority. The orchestra and chamber group is responds beautifully to both the dramatic changes in the soundscape and the subtle hints also presented in this work.
The two "soldiers", Robert Tear and Thomas Allen delivers a more "muscular" approach than Pears/Fischer-Dieskau for Britten, but I find Pears better suited for this part. (One has to remember, that it was written for him, so that's really no wonder). Tear and Allen doesn't blend well with each other, vocally, but they sound more like soldiers and all in all more dramatic than their Decca counterparts.
Elisabeth Söderström delivers a stable performance which doesn't excite, but on the other hand is fully adequate for the part. Britten cast Heather Harper in the premiere performance (but not on his recording), and I can't say, if she is better suited than Söderström. Both the choir and boys choir are excellent and clearly audible.
The sound quality is marginally better on this recording than on the Decca, but if you can live without DDD sound, then go for Britten's own recording. If you have it already (or are looking for a slightly cheaper recording), this is definately the one to go for. It's by far the best of the rest. You should avoid the Naxos recording and be wary of the DGG/Gardiner recording, even though the latter has some merits.
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