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War Requiem Original recording remastered

27 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording remastered, May 16, 2006
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$16.76 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 2 left in stock. Sold by IMS Distribution and Fulfilled by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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War Requiem + Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 5 & 7
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Editorial Reviews


Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
  • Sample this album Title - Artist (Sample)
1
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5:56
2
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3:32
3
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3:36
4
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2:33
5
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2:56
6
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1:56
7
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4:49
8
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1:52
9
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1:11
10
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1:54
11
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4:47
12
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3:30
13
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6:07
14
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6:02
15
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3:52
Disc 2
1
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3:43
2
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7:37
3
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9:34
4
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5:37
5
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7:18
6
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9:46
7
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2:03
8
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4:37
9
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8:22
10
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6:15
11
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0:17
12
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1:04
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1:10
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5:20
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3:16

Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 16, 2006)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Decca
  • ASIN: B000E6EGXM
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,534 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Samuel Stephens on October 14, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Britten's reading is raw, transparent, vicious, thunderous, and very original. Especially nice is to actually understand the words of the two male soloists without having to refer to the booklet. His soloists are strong and clear, his choruses are tip-top perfect, the LSO is divine. It's hard to say something bad about this performance, except perhaps that Vishnevskaya can be slightly grating in certain sections.
In a lot of ways I like Robert Shaw's more "glossed" "mainstream" performance, and that performance also has a lot of punch behind it, especially the purely orchestra/chorus sections. Britten's of course, is definitive. It certainly is the strongest case to convince you of the effectiveness of the integrated texts. In the Shaw version you can hardly make English text from latin text because of the thickness of voice of tenor and bass.
So get this and enjoy the music, as well as the very revealing and funny rehearsals tagged on at the end of disc 2. This is a safe five-star recommendation.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas Freidin on August 7, 2009
Format: Audio CD
This is the best recording of the War Requiem by far. For Britten, a life-long pacifist, this was his most explicit anti-war statement. And it is packed with symbolism, from the poems by Wilfred Owen ("My subject is War, and the pity of War. The Poetry is in the pity ..."), to the pick of soloists, a German (Fischer-Dieskau), an Englishman (Pears) and a Russian (Vishnevskaya - not at the first performance), to its premier in the rebuilt Coventry Cathedral in 1962. The composer's response to the devastation of war, the bombings of Coventry itself, London, Dresden, Berlin, the siege at Leningrad (St. Petersburg), etc...

One reviewer referred to the work as "grating and discordant", as well it should be. In Owen's words, "Only the monstrous anger of the guns." It is about the horrors of war after all ! Apparently he or she didn't bother to listen to the last section of the Libera me, "Let us sleep now", a disturbingly quiet, gentle, and ironic end to suffering.

Conducted by the composer, this is the War Requiem to have if you want to get to the heart and ache of this piece. The London Symphony Orchestra play superbly, and the soloists are committed and in superb voice, even Pears who more often disappoints. The Decca/London recording, the first of this work, although dating from 1963, is clear and bright. And it can now be purchased at a much reduced price.

Hickox's interpretation with the same LSO (Chandos), with a superb cast of soloists (Harper, Langridge and Shirley-Quirk), is rightly admired but it lacks the immediacy of this recording. It may have better sonics but it misses the historic, emotional, context of Britten's effort. Both are excellent versions. A toss up.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Bahij Bawarshi on October 17, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Benjamin Britten's War Requiem is English church music with a twist. When in 1961 he was commissioned to write music for the rededication of the rebuilt Coventry Cathedral, he conceived the unique idea of combining war poems of Wilfred Owen with the Latin Mass for the Dead. Both Owen (who was killed in action in the last week of World War I) and Britten were pacifists trying to make a statement. The interspersed texts work so well together, and the music and singing are so effective, as to make the work a heart-felt, powerful statement against the horridness of war, and a call to Christian pity, love and peace.

The composition calls for tenor and baritone singing the war poems, with chamber orchestra; soprano and chorus singing the liturgical parts, with full orchestra; and a boys' choir and organ, so placed as to sound far away and ethereal. The score itself is twentieth century music, original, moving and dramatic.

This re-issue of the opus includes 50 minutes of rehearsals, recorded without Britten's knowledge. Fascinating in themselves, these tracks more significantly tell us what the composer-conductor wanted to accomplish as he directed the performers. As Donald Mitchell has it in the enclosed booklet, Britten's intent - one "fundamental to the original concept and interpretation of the work" - was to "shock audiences out of a passive acceptance of the annihilation of war." Britten urges, "Lots of words - think what they mean." In the Dies Irae he asks the chorus to sound terrified; in the Sanctus he demands a confused sound - "Make it sound like a crowd coming at you." He wants the boys' choir to sing more ethereally - "Imagine yourselves in heaven, a long way away from here.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Ivan Weiser on November 21, 2008
Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful recording indeed (though I too have reservations about Vishnevskaya's contribution).

But: I would avoid downloading it in MP3 form, since (most unusual for Amazon) the tracks do not join smoothly: when one track should smoothly connect with the next, you can almost always hear a little burp (for want of a better word) when the new track is starting. This can be annoying.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By nbjfny on August 10, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is a great performance of the Requiem, probably the finest piece of its kind written during the 20th Century. In that it's conducted by Britten with singers of his choice makes it the definitive performance of this work.

What's particularly wonderful are the rehearsal tapes, which take up much of the second disc. It's a rare privilege to hear the composer tell the performers exactly what he wants from the music. Britten clearly knew what he wanted and conveyed that to the performers with grace and humor.

Highly recommended!!!!
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