Basel Sinfonietta — Never Again War
An act of destruction and cultural barbarism gave rise to one of the central works of 20th century music. Benjamin Britten's “War Requiem” is a work of quiet mourning, of memory of all war dead—and of reconciliation. The composition was premiered on May 30, 1962, for the inauguration of the newly built cathedral in Coventry, England. The previous medieval cathedral building was destroyed by German aircraft bombs during the so-called “Operation Moonlight Sonata.” The English composer used the commission given to him to translate his deeply rooted pacifist and humanitarian convictions into sounds. In his urgent appeal against the war, Britten places the harrowing poems of the soldier Wilfred Owen, who died in the last days of the First World War at age 25, next to the traditional text of the Latin Requiem Mass.
Britten's powerful composition for orchestra, choirs, three solo voices, and organ is not only considered a milestone in post-war music but is still overwhelming today with its direct expression—a world war oratorio as a warning document of protest and resistance against the wars of the 20th century. In view of the current war in Eastern Europe, this funeral mass has once again proven its relevance.
Tickets are CHF 34-76, CHF 18-39 for students, and CHF 5 for kids under age 5.