Topic: BENJAMIN BRITTEN's War Requiem
09 November 2014
About the concert: This concert - part of the Royal Festival Hall’s 100 year commemoration of World War I – was preceded by a talk with Marin Alsop and a post-concert backstage meeting with her during which she briefly met with members of the Yale Club of London.
Benjamin Britten's War Requiem was composed in 1961 for the consecration of Coventry Cathedral - newly rebuilt following its destruction in World War II. Britten took as his inspiration the words of young English war poet, Wilfred Owen, himself killed in action in World War I on 4 November 1918, just days before the armistice. The War Requiem profoundly weaves together nine of Owen’s most poignant poems including Anthem for Doomed Youth, Futility and Strange Meeting, with the traditional Latin mass. A contemporary masterpiece, the War Requiem neither glorifies war nor celebrates its victories; Britten, a pacifist, dedicated the Requiem to four close friends – three of whom were killed during World War II.
About the speaker: Marin Alsop (TD ’77) is a conductor and violinist. She is the Music Director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the Principal Conductor of the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra. Dubbed the ‘First Lady’ of Last Night of the Proms for being the first woman conductor at the Royal Albert Hall in 2013, Marin Alsop is no stranger to firsts. She was the first musical director of a major American orchestra, the first conductor recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship, and has long spearheaded a fellowship for female conductors and an educational programme to introduce music to children in deprived areas of Baltimore. With Leonard Bernstein as her role model at age nine when she made up her mind to become a conductor, Marin Alsop has since carved out a path to reach the heights of musical talent and accomplishment, serving as an example for future musicians.
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