Video of the Day: John Rutter under the baton of Britten
Friday, November 3, 2023
Rutter recalls singing in the the historic recording of the War Requiem on its 60th anniversary
It is rare that two great names in British music, of different generations, would cross paths on such a historic recording. In today's video the composer John Rutter recalls singing in the boys chorus in the original 1963 recording of Benjamin Britten's War Requiem. Rutter was a chorister at Highgate school which was renowned at the time for its boys choir who frequently gave premieres of new works.
To mark 60 years since the original recording, Decca has released a new re-transfered HD remaster of the recording. Unique for its juxtaposing of the traditional Latin mass text with the war poetry of Wilfred Owen, Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem was a staunch pacifist monument in post-war Britain. Gramophone described the original 1963 Decca recording of the War Requiem with the London Symphony Orchestra as ‘among the most magnetic performances of British music ever put on record.’ Within five months of its release, it sold over 200,000 copies, a number that was beyond any other classical release at the time.
Decca have remastered the original stereo mastertapes with the hope of bringing this historic recording to new audiences with high-definition audio. As well as the War Requiem, this release includes rarely heard audio from the rehearsals including conversations between Britten and the three soloists; Peter Pears, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Galina Vishnevskaya. It's released on CD, vinyl and online today.
The remastered War Requiem (Decca) releases today and can be heard below via Apple Music