Britten’s War Requiem was commissioned for the consecration of the new cathedral in Coventry and premiered in the cathedral on May 30, 1962. The work is scored for a full orchestra as well as chamber orchestra, chorus, boys’ choir, organ and three soloists which Britten conceived as being Russian (Galina Vishnevskaya), British (Peter Pears) and German (Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau) – the Berlin performance employs a British tenor and a German baritone. When Decca recorded the War Requiem in 1963 under Britten’s baton, it sold over 200,000 copies in its first five months of release. Since then there have been at least a dozen recordings of the work, and during the 2012-13 concert season, it will be heard in over 60 live performances around the world.
|Photo by Karsh.|
I have just finished blurbing a boatload of CDs by the late, great pianist Earl Wild. At this very minute I'm listening to a 2-CD Liszt extravaganza, and it's exquisite. I highly recommend poking around amongst the Wild offerings, because he's just fantastic, and there is something for everyone.
I just have to share a little coda on Gramophone's reviewing style, which is more than a little acerbic. Here's one of their number on Tchaikovsky's First Piano Concerto:
Personally, I should call it Tchaikovsky's greatest work. It never conveys an impression of exacerbated nerves, and while it is full of lovely melodies, it never degenerates into sentimentality, or into that odious whining to which the composer became so prone.