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Britten: War Requiem


Britten: War Requiem

Britten: War Requiem

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Financial Times (UK)
Rondo (Germany)
(3 * max) Point de Vue (France)
Best International Album of the Year 2012
Musical Toronto (Canada)
CD of the Week Sunday Times (UK)
Recording of the Month

Premiered in 1962, the War Requiem is one of the twentieth century's defining works. Britten was commissioned to write it for the re-dedication of Coventry Cathedral, which was destroyed during the Second World War. Interspersing the Latin mass of the dead with texts by war poet Wilfred Owen he created a work that both mourned the dead and pleaded the futility of war.

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Best International Album of the Year 2012 'Conductor Gianandrea Noseda, the London Symphony and powerful singers came together for a concert at London’s Barbican last year that knocked my emotional socks off. This is a message — and music — that will never grow stale.’ Musical Toronto (Canada)

'The LSO and its Chorus are on cracking form, and the soloists are as good as you will get ... Sabina Cvilak sings with a freshness and edge that make you sit up ... Noseda’s dramatic, pulsating account represents another landmark' Financial Times (UK)

***** 'Gianandrea Noseda is an expert in Britten´s music, superiorly conducting this big and sophisticated orchestra ... Sabina Cvilak's superior handling of the difficult soprano part and male colleagues (Bostridge and Keenlyside) ... were both marvelous heirs to Peter Pears and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau' Rondo (Germany)

***** ‘All of the forces, including the star-studded soloists are excellent, and this 50th-anniversary release of the premiere performance is memorable indeed.’
Audiophile Audition (USA)

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)

‘Mr. Noseda, … boldly draws out the score’s operatic elements, as in his stunning account of the fitful Dies Irae, while vividly conveying its overall organic structure … Ms. Cvilak sings with shimmering sound and elegance. In different ways, the ethereal Mr. Bostridge and the commanding Mr. Keenlyside bring alive the dark imagery of Owen’s verse.’ New York Times

‘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)

'this is an important issue: Noseda's judgement of pace is unerring, and the orchestra and chorus simply superb' BBC Music Magazine (UK)

‘[Noseda’s] understanding of the relationship between ritual devotion and political anger in Britten's great pacifist statement is marvellously acute …The choral singing is fervent and intense, the playing fierce and sensitive by turns. Sabina Cvilak is thrilling’ The Guardian (UK)

***(3 * max) '[This is] an epic version that doesn’t sacrifice the obvious emotion of the choral passages' 'une version porteuse d’un souffle épique évident sans sacrifier l’émotion des passages choraux’ Point de Vue (France) 

‘The LSO and the London Symphony Chorus are the performance’s rock: they start on top form and stay that way. Another essential recording’ The Times (UK)

‘a deeply moving account of this thought-provoking piece’ Presto Classical (UK)

'Gianandrea Noseda's interpretation is notable for the way he plays his cards very close to the vest. This is a purposeful, efficient performance... Bostridge and Keenlyside prove to be optimal casting for their solos... The chorus of the London Symphony seconds Noseda's conception to the letter.' Opera News (USA)

'ein echtes Hörabenteuer (a true listening adventure)' Neue Presse (Germany)

‘The concert recording is technically excellent and is as well produced as it is musically great. This is a great orchestra with two excellent choirs - the London Symphony Chorus and the Children's Choir of Eltham College - with Sabina Cvilak, Ian Bostridge and Simon Keenlyside three outstanding soloists and, finally, a conductor who sentimentalized this great work with a moving, gripping force’
BR Klassik (Germany)

Recording of the Month

'Noseda as well as many of today’s other conductors including Simon Rattle approaches Britten’s music in a much more expressive and contemporary way […] The tenor Ian Bostridge proves himself a congenial successor of the unforgotten Peter Pears. The soprano Sabina Cvilak, with her beautiful singing, outclasses her colleague Galina Vishnevskaya' Aachener Nachrichten (Germany)

‘In these passages two of the most capable British singers – tenor Ian Bostridge and baritone Simon Keenlyside – fascinate with bitterness and lyricism, defamation (?) and lust for life’ Frankenpost (Germany)

‘Die Überzeugungskraft dieser Einspielung stammt nicht zuletzt von den hervorragenden Solisten - Sopranistin Sabina Cvilak, Tenor Ian Bostridge und Bass Simon Keenlyside sowie dem Knabenchor Eltham College Choir’ (‘The persuasiveness of this recording is also owed to the outstanding soloists – the soprano Sabina Cvilak, the tenor Ian Bostridge and the bass Simon Keenlyside as well as the Choir of Eltham College’) Musikwoche (Germany)

‚Noseda geht expressiver und diesseitiger an die Musik heran als Britten. Noseda setzt mit dem London Symphony Chorus streckenweise opernhafte Akzente. Der Tenor Ian Bostridge empfiehlt sich als kongenialer Nachfolger des unvergessenen Peter Pears‘ (‘Noseda approaches Britten’s music in a much more expressive and contemporary way. At times he sets operatic accents with the London Symphony Chorus. The tenor Ian Bostridge proves himself a congenial successor of the unforgotten Peter Pears’) Westdeutsche Allegemeine Zeitung (Germany)

‘Dass der Gesamtcharakter der Aufnahme dennoch zurückhaltend und intim ist, spricht für die Meisterschaft dieses Dirigenten‘ (‘The fact that the overall character of this new recording is charming yet intimate speaks volumes for the musical leadership abilities of this conductor’) NDR Kultur (Germany)

‘fand das "War Requiem" nun einen perfekt geformten Klangkörper für diese genuin englische Neuaufnahme ... Das Trio harmoniert ohne Konkurrenzkampf, es addiert sich in der Interpretation zu mehr als einer Summe der Teile ... 90 spannende Minuten des Schmerzes und der Trauer abläuft, in der aber doch Zuversicht und Hoffnung siegen‘ - ’the “War Requiem” has found a worthy, perfectly formed orchestra for this genuinely English recording … The trio of soloists work together in perfect harmony and improve the quality by more than 100% … 90 gripping minutes of pain and grief in which, however, confidence and hope triumph in the end’
Spiegel (online) (Germany)

‘Das Oratorium ist überwältigend, intensiv, es mischt die lateinische Totenmesse mit Gedichten von Wilfred Owen. Jetzt hat das London Symphony Orchestra unter Gianandrea Noseda mit den Solisten Sabina Cvilak, Ian Bostridge und Simon Keenlyside das Werk vermutlich unübertrefflich eingespielt‘ – ‘The oratorio is magnificent, intense and combines the Latin requiem mass with poems of Wilfred Owen. The London Symphony Orchestra with the conductor Gianandrea Noseda and the soloists Sabina Cvilak, Ian Bostridge and Simon Keenlyside has released a probably unrivalled recording of this work’ Rheinische Post (Germany)

‘Gianandrea Noseda,conducting the London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, presents a full-blooded rendition of Britten’s War Requiem. Featuring a stellar line-up of soloists, including Ian Bostridge, Simon Keenlyside and Sabina Cvilak, as well the Choir of Eltham College this recording sets a new benchmark for this epic work. Incredible orchestral playing impeccable singing. Highly recommended’ The Northern Echo (UK)

'the London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, and the Choir of Eltham College give a stunning performance. They capture 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' (US)

Concert Reviews

‘Noseda’s unashamedly dramatic interpretation held the audience transfixed. It was all so vivid … an overwhelming evocation of the grief, the waste and the pity of war’
The Times (UK)

‘Noseda marshalled the finest War Requiem that I have heard. He showed total control of Britten’s vast structure … The performance was also an acutely expressive rendition of a piece that is too often handled as a technical tour de force’ The New Yorker (US)


Gianandrea Noseda conductor
Ian Bostridge
Simon Keenlyside
Sabina Cvilak
London Symphony Chorus
Choir of Eltham College
London Symphony Orchestra

Recording Details

James Mallinson producer
Jonathan Stokes & Neil Hutchinson
for Classic Sound Ltd, balance engineers
High resolution recording, live at the Barbican in October 2011
Stereo and multi-channel 5.0
Total playing time 83m 46s

Catalogue Code - LSO0719
UPC - (822231171928)

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