Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem — Remembering Coventry

Today on Radio Riel’s Main Stream, we’re remem­ber­ing the night, 70 years ago tomor­row – 14th Novem­ber 1940 – when the city of Coven­try, in the heart of Britain, was dev­as­tat­ed by an air raid.

The 14th cen­tu­ry cathe­dral was destroyed, leav­ing only the shell and the spire. A new cathe­dral was con­struct­ed next to it, and con­se­crat­ed on 30 May 1962. Ben­jamin Brit­ten’s War Requiem was com­mis­sioned for the con­se­cra­tion.

Since that ter­ri­ble night in 1940 (see sep­a­rate arti­cle), the city of Coven­try has been rebuilt around its new and old Cathe­drals – which have become the cen­tre of an inter­na­tion­al move­ment of rec­on­cil­i­a­tion. Today’s pro­gram­ming on Radio Riel is ded­i­cat­ed to the peo­ple and city of Coven­try, to the mem­o­ry of those who lost their lives, and to the vic­tims of war all over the world, with the hope that all nations may find peace and rec­on­cil­i­a­tion.

At 9pm UK time, 1pm Pacif­ic, we are play­ing the orig­i­nal Dec­ca record­ing of Brit­ten’s War Requiem Op.66, with many of the same artists as were present for the first per­for­mance in 1962: Gali­na Vish­nevskaya, Peter Pears, Diet­rich Fis­ch­er-Dieskau, The Bach Choir, and Lon­don Sym­pho­ny Cho­rus. The work is con­duct­ed by the com­pos­er. (At the same time, a live per­for­mance of this work is tak­ing place at the Cathe­dral.)

You can learn more about the Requiem in this Wikipedia arti­cle, and this piece on the Brit­ten-Pears Foun­da­tion web site.
If you enjoy this record­ing, you can obtain it from Amazon.com here and from oth­er sources.

The Requiem will be broad­cast on Radio Riel’s Main Stream. Tune in at http://main.radioriel.org/

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