Britten: War Requiem

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Cambridge University Press, Nov 7, 1996 - Music - 115 pages
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Widely regarded as one of the greatest choral works of the twentieth century, Britten's War Requiem was first performed at the consecration of the new Coventry Cathedral in 1962. It provocatively juxtaposes the vivid anti-war poetry of Wilfred Owen with the Latin Requiem Mass in a passionate outcry against man's inhumanity to man. This Handbook explores the background to Britten's use of the Owen texts, charting the development of the composer's lifelong pacifist beliefs and (in a chapter contributed by Philip Reed of the Britten-Pears library, Aldeburgh) detailing the process of composition from hitherto unpublished correspondence and manuscript sources. The musical structure is investigated, and the work's compositional idiom related to Britten's output as a whole. A concluding chapter surveys the fluctuating critical responses to the score, and includes discussion of the composer's legendary 1963 recording and Derek Jarman's controversial interpretation on film.
 

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This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1913 Excerpt: ...Gaughran, Laurence. See Meath, Diocese Of. Gaul, Christian.--The Church of Gaul first appeared in history in connexion with the persecution at Lyons under Marcus Aurelius (177). The pagan inhabitants rose up against the Christians, and fortyeight martyrs suffered death under various tortures. Among them there were children, like the slave Blandina and Ponticus, a youth of fifteen. Every rank of life had members among the first martyrs of the Church of Gaul: the aristocracy were represented by Vettius Epagathus; the professional class by Attains of Pergamus, a physician; a neophyte, Maturus, died beside Pothinus, Bishop of Lyons, and Sanctus, deacon of Vienne. The Christians of Lyons and Vienne in a letter to their brethren of Smyrna give an account of this persecution, and the letter, preserved by Eusebius (Hist. Eccl., V, i-iv), is one of the gems of Christian literature. In this document the Church of Lyons seems to be the only church organized at the time in Gaul. That of Vienne appears to have been dependent on it and, to judge from similar cases, was probably administered by a deacon. How or where Christianity first gained a foothold in Gaul is purely a matter of conjecture. Most likely the first missionaries came by sea, touched at Marseilles, and progressed up the Rhone till they established the religion at Lyons, the metropolis and centre of communication for the whole country. The firm establishment of Christianity in Gaul was undoubtedly due to missionaries from Asia. Pothinus was a disciple of St. Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, as was also his successor, I reiumis. In the time of i renanis Lyons was still the centre of the Church in Gaul. Eusebius speaks of letters written by the Churches of Gaul of which Irena?iis is bishop (Hist. Eccl., V, xxiii).... 

Contents

Owen Britten and pacifism
1
The War Requiem in progress
20
The musical language idiom and structure
49
Critical reception
78
Appendix Text
92

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About the author (1996)

Mervyn Cooke is Professor of Music at the University of Nottingham. His books include studies of Britten's Billy Budd and War Requiem (Cambridge University Press), Britten and the Far East, Jazz, and The Chronicle of Jazz; he has also edited The Cambridge Companion to Benjamin Britten and (with David Horn) The Cambridge Companion to Jazz. He is currently writing a history of film music for Cambridge University Press, and is a co-editor of the ongoing and critically acclaimed edition of Britten's correspondence published by Faber. He is also active as a pianist and composer, his compositions having been broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and Radio France, and performed at London's South Bank and St John's Smith Square.

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