Listen to a Sample:
Although any performance of the War Requiem is a powerful experience, this occasion must have been doubly poignant as it took place just five days after Benjamin Britten's untimely death. It is a remarkable testament to Peter Pears' artistry that he was able to sing in this performance given Britten and his long artistic and personal association. The result is a very moving reading of of one of Britten's most emotional works. Although Pears' best years were well past, the tessitura of the part proves friendly enough and he delivers a sensitive and subtle performance. John Shirley-Quirk's virile voice proves an excellent counterpart to Pears (although one misses a German singer, a la Fischer-Dieskau, as it goes one step further in creating an allegory for World War II.) Gwyneth Jones voice soars over chorus and orchestra. Rafael Kubelik shows a knack for Britten's unique style. The sound is very good.