Gianandrea Noseda will make his debut with the Concertgebouw Orchestra with a work he has championed and for which he has received critical acclaim in performances with the London Symphony Orchestra both in concert and on record: Benjamin Britten's monumental War Requiem. It has been one of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra's long-cherished wishes to perform this remarkable work. Scored for orchestra, large chorus, children's choir and three soloists, it is certainly a challenge to perform. The work also indirectly calls on Noseda's experience as an opera conductor, since theatre is never far away in Britten's compositions.
Britten composed the War Requiem for the consecration of the Cathedral of Coventry, which was destroyed during the Second World War: a new church was erected next to the ruins of the old one. Likewise, the music constantly balances between classical harmonies and modern dissonance. The traditional Requiem text alternates with verses by the poet-soldier Wilfred Owen, who died during the First World War at the age of twenty-five. The texts are about death and destruction, but the music of Britten, a confirmed pacifist, is very much in tune with the hope that glows between the lines.
In 1964, the Concertgebouw Orchestra performed Britten's War Requiem under the direction of Bernard Haitink with the 'dream team' Britten had actually envisaged for the world premiere two years earlier: the Russian soprano Galina Vishnevskaya, the English tenor Peter Pears and the German baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. Now the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Gianandrea Noseda have again invited a Russian soprano, an English tenor and a German baritone.
The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra dedicates the concert on 11 October to the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Latvia. On 8 November the orchestra will perform a concert in Riga, Latvia, as part of the RCO meets Europe tour project.