Marin Alsop & Baltimore Symphony Orchestra to Present WAR REQUIEM, 11/14-16
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) Music Director Marin Alsop leads the BSO and the University of Maryland Concert Choir in the centerpiece of the BSO's 2013-2014 season, Britten's War Requiem on Thursday, November 14, 2013 at 8 p.m. and Friday, November 15, 2013 at 8 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and Saturday, November 16, 2013 at 8 p.m. at the Music Center at Strathmore. The program also features soprano TaMara Wilson, tenor Nicolas Phan, bass-baritone Ryan McKinny and the Peabody Children's Chorus. These performances celebrate the 100th anniversary of the composer's birth on November 22, 1913. Please see below for complete program details.
Marin Alsop has gained acclaim for programming BSO seasons around themes of broad appeal. In the 2013-2014 season, the BSO explores music's role as a source of solace. In addition to Britten's War Requiem, three works during the season were specifically written to inspire hope: John Adams' tribute to the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks, On the Transmigration of Souls, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, with its call for joy to unite all people in universal brotherhood, and Karen Tanaka's Water of Life, a musical response to the devastating 2011 tsunami in her native Japan.
The centerpiece of this theme is Benjamin Britten's War Requiem. The 20th-century English composer knew music's restorative power well: an outspoken pacifist, Britten's harrowing, poignant War Requiem was commissioned to consecrate the rebuilt Coventry Cathedral, which had been destroyed by Nazi bombing in 1940 during World War II. Its text weaves the traditional Requiem liturgy with poetry by Wilfred Owen, a British soldier and accomplished poet killed in battle in the First World War.
"Music has the power to express the inexpressible. Some of my most memorable performing experiences have been in the wake of tragedy. When people are hurting and need comfort, music can be that refuge and can offer a glimmer of hope and solace," said Music Director Marin Alsop. "Britten's War Requiem premiered in the Coventry Cathedral in 1962 to christen a building that had to literally rise out of the ashes and be rebuilt. The World War II victims' metaphorical ascent out of the ashes as they rebuilt their lives and remembered the many they lost is no less significant. This masterpiece is filled with inspiring moments, especially when the multitudes assembled onstage are playing and singing at full volume. But this complex work also has many tender and mournful moments that truly connect us, reminding us of what we share as members of the human race."
The BSO will host several pre-concert events to enhance patrons' understanding of and appreciation for this important work and the events it sought to memorialize: