On September 2, Paul McCreesh and his Gabrieli Consort & Players will release Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem on Signum Classics/Winged Lion in honour of the composer’s centenary year. The musicians took to the Watford Colosseum at the beginning of January alongside members of the Gabrieli Young Singers’ scheme, Wrocław Philharmonic Choir, trebles of the Choir of New College Oxford and soloists Susan Gritton, John Mark Ainsley and Christopher Maltman.
‘Our War Requiem sessions were really one of the happiest experiences I've ever had in the studio,’ said McCreesh. ‘Maybe it was the mixture of Polish and British musicians, or the alchemy of including 60 young singers into the professional mould; all the same it was a privilege to command 300 plus musicians with such extraordinary energy and quiet focus. Or was the obvious thing that Britten's staggering masterpiece is - after 50 years, and some notable detractors - now accepted for what it is: not just a technical tour de force of incredible genius, but a work that continues to touch and move in the profoundest way.’
The album is the third to stem from the collaboration between the National Forum of Music in Wrocław and McCreesh, who until recently was artistic director of the Wratislavia Cantans festival, based in the Polish city. Previous releases in the Wratislavia Cantans Oratorio Series are Berlioz’s Grande Messe des Morts and Mendelssohn’s Elijah.
The Gabrieli Consort and Players are due to release two more recordings on Winged Lion/Signum Classics this autumn – a limited edition LP of 'A New Venetian Coronation 1595' on September 2 (which has won the 2013 Gramophone Award for Early Music), and a new a cappella choral disc, 'Incarnation - A Song and a Nativity', in October.
Listen to the Gabrieli’s recording of 'Dies Irae' from Britten’s War Requiem on the Gramophone Player below:
Watch a video about the recording below: