Album review: Antonio Pappano, Anna Netrebko, Ian Bostridge, Thomas Hampson, Britten: War Requiem (Warner Classics)


Britten's War Requiem has been recently recorded in at least two excellent versions – the other is by Paul McCreesh's Gabrieli Consort – to mark the composer's centennial. Both deal capably with the contrasting arrangements of traditional Latin texts, and more modern passages featuring the starkly corporeal imagery of William Owen's war poetry. But Pappano's interpretation profits from the quality of his soloists, Ian Bostridge and Thomas Hampson bringing a more natural delivery to the Owen texts, almost jauntily walking “quite friendly up to Death”, while Anna Netrebko's star power illuminates such testing passages as the “Liber scriptus proferetur”.

Download: Requiem Aeternam; Dies Irae; Libera Me