Merging the Latin Mass for the Dead with anti-war poems by a young officer named Wilfred Owen who was killed just days before the end of World War I, Britten’s War Requiem is an emotional indictment of war as a heroic myth, which Owen called ‘the Old Lie.’ As November marks 100 years since the Armistice of World War I, the NSO will combine forces with some of today’s most gifted voices and choral groups for this epic work. Britten said he wanted the soloists to represent “the three nations that had suffered most during the war,” and in this performance, NSO Music Director Gianandrea Noseda honors that tradition conducting a Russian soprano Karina Flores, British tenor Ian Bostridge, and German baritone Matthias Goerne.
Maestro Noseda shared some of his thoughts on the piece with us:
After a whirlwind tour of Moscow and St. Petersburg, the NSO is back home rehearsing for this weekend’s concerts in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. It’s fitting that immediately upon their return from Russia the orchestra will perform music by Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich.
Shostakovich was a close friend of former NSO music director, Mstislav Rostopovich and his Symphony No. 5 is a favorite of the orchestra. Since the NSO was founded, it has been performed well over one hundred times! Here’s what NSO cellist Glenn Garlick had to say about the piece last time it was performed in May 2013.
As the NSO kicks off its 2017 Russia Tour, we’re remembering the late former music director Mstislav Rostropovich, who would have turned 90 today. His tenure proved to be one of the most glittering periods in the life of the NSO thus far, and saw the introduction of the signature projects that remain an important part of the NSO’s life to this day.