Album review: Paul McCreesh, Britten: War Requiem (Signum Classics)

 

The latest in Paul McCreesh's presentations of large-scale oratorios again uses the massed forces of the Gabrieli Consort & Players with the Wrocław Philharmonic Choir – more than 300 performers in all. The result is another triumphant realisation of a complex, multi-layered work, in which Benjamin Britten contrasted arrangements of the traditional Latin texts, with more modern passages featuring William Owen's war poetry. It's a dynamic most shockingly effective in the “Dies Irae” section, where the vaunting, “wondrous sound” of its choir and trumpets is summarily dismissed by “voices of old despondency resigned”, before the pieties of divine expectation are routed by the cavalier resignation of “Out there, we've walked quite friendly up to Death”.

Download: Requiem Aeternam; Dies Irae; Libera Me

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