Performance Wednesday, April 30, 2014 | 8 PM

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Hailed as “a phenomenon” who “pulls together the most intellectually enticing and emotionally gripping [performances] in New York" (The New Yorker), Robert Spano leads his Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in a stirring performance of Britten’s towering masterpiece. The composer created this mammoth meditation against war by juxtaposing Latin texts from the Mass for the Dead with shocking depictions of battle by Wilfred Owen, a British poet who died in World War I.


  • Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
    Robert Spano, Music Director and Conductor
  • Evelina Dobracheva, Soprano
  • Anthony Dean Griffey, Tenor
  • Stephen Powell, Baritone
  • Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus
    Norman Mackenzie, Director
  • Brooklyn Youth Chorus
    Dianne Berkun-Menaker, Artistic Director


  • BRITTEN War Requiem


Britten's War Reqiem (Sanctus)
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra | Atlanta Symphony Chorus | Atlanta Boys Choir | Robert Shaw, Conductor

At a Glance

Benjamin Britten composed his War Requiem in response to a commission to celebrate the consecration of St. Michael's Cathedral in Coventry, England. The original cathedral was destroyed by German bombing raids during World War II. The War Requiem received its world premiere at the cathedral on May 30, 1962.

A lifelong pacifist and a conscientious objector during World War II, Britten created a work that expressed his disdain for the conflict that led to the destruction of the cathedral. In the War Requiem, he juxtaposes the text of the Latin Mass for the Dead with poems by Wilfred Owen (1893-1918), an English officer killed in battle in World War I one week before the Armistice. Stripped of any romanticism or patriotic fervor, Owen's poems graphically depict the horrors of war. Indeed, Owen repeatedly portrays enemy soldiers as kindred spirits, innocent pawns in the hands of those who send them off to battle.


The story of Benjamin Britten's War Requiem. Courtesy of the Britten-Pears Foundation.

Britten 100
This concert is made possible, in part, by an endowment fund for choral music established by S. Donald Sussman in memory of Judith Arron and Robert Shaw.
Funding for the Carnegie Hall Live broadcast series is provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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