War Requiem

MICHAEL DRAKE Maltings Concert Hall, Snape


The affinity of Benjamin Britten and Wilfred Owen's first world war poetry is well chronicled but this was the culmination of a master class on the composer's marriage of the text and the Latin Missa.

The Britten-Pears Orchestra (leader, Ruth Rogers) and 100 voices from the B-P and Tallis Chamber Choirs, Cambridge Fairhaven Singers and Tiffin Boys' Choir combined under the energetic conducting of Simone Young to draw out the tragic intensity of the score.

Colin Balzer (tenor) sang with exemplary diction, lucidity and pathos over some belligerent scoring, baritone Stephen Wells was, in Owen's words “sorrowful to hear” but perceptive in his vocal warmth and in duet both were reflective of their comradeship.

Sally Johnson (soprano) richly declaimed the Latin parts of the text.

A long, long silence as the final “Amen” faded away, spoke volumes for an inspirational performance.