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Britten’s War Requiem performed at Winchester Cathedral


Over 400 performers from across the South joined forces on Saturday night to perform Benjamin Britten’s ‘War Requiem’ at Winchester Cathedral.

Choirs and orchestras from Bournemouth University, Imperial College London and Bournemouth Symphony Chorus, as well as from schools in Portsmouth and Andover, marked the centenary of the British composer’s birth and the First World War by performing to a packed congregation of music-lovers.

A total of eight ensembles and three soloists took part in the immense piece in Winchester Cathedral, with the cathedral walls transformed into a First World War backdrop through the use of videos and pictures projected onto the grandiose walls.

Ian Davis, Head of Music at Bournemouth University, said: “The performance of the War Requiem, Britten’s great masterpiece, marked the culmination of a project which brought together students and staff from Imperial College, Arts University Bournemouth and Bournemouth University as well as members of the local community and choristers from a number of schools. I am enormously proud of the fantastic contribution made by each and every individual involved in what was such a moving and memorable performance.”

The concert marked the end of a series of performances by Bournemouth University dedicated to Britten, which began in November 2013. As well as taking a leading role in the organisation of the concert, Ian conducted the Bournemouth University chamber orchestra during the performance.

The ‘War Requiem’ is dedicated to four friends of Britten, three of which died during the Second World War and another who committed suicide after retiring from the military.

Benjamin Britten Festival

Through a series of concerts and lectures, BU’s ‘Britten Festival’ commemorates the centenary of the composer’s birth in 1913 and the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War in 1914.

The events begin on Saturday 2 November, and the culmination of the festival will be a performance of Britten’s epic masterpiece, the ‘War Requiem’ in Winchester Cathedral in February.

Many events are free and do not require tickets. With the exception of the ‘War Requiem’ all events will take place on the university’s main Talbot Campus.

For full details on all of the events, please head to the website.