Friday, November 11, 2011

Where were you on 11-11-11?

Today is Veteran's Day and holds a very significant date. I figure it would be good to record what I did to commemorate.

You can't see me because the orchestra is pretty much hidden down in front,  but I'm here at the Cathedral of the Madeline, performing Benjamin Britten's War Requiem with Craig Jessop's American Festival Chorus from Cache Valley.

Here is the background and a description of this work --

Benjamin Britten was a life long pacifist, so it was only natural for him to write something like the War Requiem where he could express his personal feelings. The work was written for a specific occasion – the 1962 rededication of Coventry Cathedral, which had been destroyed in the early days of World War II – but its appeal is universal and timeless. Many anti war works have come out of the 20th century, but certainly none has made a greater impact than Britten’s, in large part because the horrors of war depicted here are viewed through the eyes of the common soldier.

In the War Requiem, Britten deftly blends the traditional text of the Catholic Mass for the dead with selected poems by Wilfred Owen, a young British soldier killed in the final days of World War I who graphically yet eloquently describes what it feels like to experience war firsthand. And the War Requiem’s impact comes from this remarkable blending of the ancient words from the requiem and Owen’s evocative and at times spiritually tinged poems. The War Requiem is a work from the heart.

--Edward Reichel

An appropriate and moving work for this noteworty day; I am grateful to be a part of it all.

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