Britten’s War Work

As part of the celebration of the centenary of the birth of Benjamin Britten–a well-renowned British 20th Century composer–the Halle Orchestra in Manchester will perform works composed by Britten during World War II at a concert on October 3. These works will be performed for the first time in public since they were written 70 years ago. Britten is known for his pacifism, and regards his compositions during this time as his “war work.” Another well-known piece composed by Britten is War Requiem which juxtaposes the traditional Latin mass for the dead with nine war poems by Wilfred Owen. A common musical motif in this piece is the use of the interval of a tritone, which adds to the theme of conflict and resolution that are part of the piece as well as part of wartime itself.  The haunting melodies of this requiem can’t help but make your skin tingle and your hair stand on end. This piece creates a powerful reflection on war as you morn the loss of those who died in war with the traditional Latin and also hear the words of a dead soldier himself.

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