Following their acclaimed recordings of Berlioz’s Grande Messe des Morts and Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Paul McCreesh has once again assembled the mass forces of Gabrieli Consort & Players and Wrocaw Phiharmonic Choir to record one of the iconic masterpieces of the twentieth-century oratorio repertoire.
The work reflects Britten’s long-held and committed pacifist beliefs. Composed to mark the consecration of a new Cathedral in Coventry, Britten combines the Latin text of the Missa pro Defunctis with nine poems by the First World War poet Wilfred Owen, which vide a moving (and frequently uncomfortable) commentary on the liturgical text.
This series has already garnered substantial critical claim and a number of prestigious awards, including a Gramophone Award, BBC Music Magazine Award and two Diapason d'Or awards.
It’s a very well-paced performance, and Susan Gritton, John Mark Ainsley and Christopher Maltman are excellent soloists, totally engaged with Britten’s combination of the Latin Mass for the Dead and Wilfred Owen’s war poetry. It’s an outstanding recording for the Winged Lion Label from Signum Classics - BBC Radio 3 CD Review