A landmark event amongst the 2014 First World War centenary commemorations is the Royal Choral Society’s performance of Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem on Remembrance Sunday, 9 November, at London’s Royal Albert Hall. Bringing together top-flight soloists, including star bass-baritone Bryn Terfel, and the internationally-renowned London Philharmonic Orchestra, the concert will undoubtedly be poignant and powerful.

Whilst remembering those who sacrificed their lives one hundred years ago, funds raised from the concert will go to Veterans Aid, a remarkable charity providing today’s ex-servicemen and women in crisis with immediate support and with extraordinary effectiveness. The concert, organised in collaboration with The Lady R Foundation, matches music, occasion and charitable cause, making it a unique event in this centenary year.

Britten’s War Requiem, one of the most masterful artistic responses to the tragedy of war, profoundly weaves together the Latin Mass for the Dead with the poetry of Wilfred Owen, the young English war poet killed in action in the final days of the First World War. It is a work steeped with themes of the pity of war, sacrifice and remembrance, yet also an expression of hope and reconciliation. Britten, a pacifist, intended that the vocal soloists for the premiere of the work should represent the former warring countries – Russia, Germany and Great Britain.

The performance on Remembrance Sunday 2014, conducted by Richard Cooke, once again brings together these three nations, represented by international soloists: British bass-baritone Bryn Terfel, German tenor Stephan Rügamer and Russian soprano (and 2009 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World) Ekaterina Scherbachenko.

Bryn Terfel commented: "I'm delighted to be singing in Britten's War Requiem to mark such a unique occasion. To sing this piece on the Remembrance Sunday of the centenary year of the outbreak of the First World War will be an historic commemoration. The First World War affected every family in the country and heralded a century of bloodshed and destruction like no other. The Royal Albert Hall is the concert venue for marking Remembrance Sunday and I'm sure that the Royal Choral Society, the London Philharmonic Orchestra and my fellow soloists will give their all to ensure that the centenary is properly marked."

The Royal Choral Society is one of the UK's premier choirs and has a long history with the Royal Albert Hall. Formed in 1871 for the Hall's opening, the choir has performed continually at its 'spiritual home', even throughout the First World War, when the choir was a pivotal force in preserving music-making in London, introducing a Sunday afternoon concert series at the Royal Albert Hall in 1915.

The event is presented in association with The Lady R Foundation, a UK registered charity founded by The Dowager Viscountess Rothermere, to bring comfort and relief to the forgotten, the overlooked and the stigmatised in today's society.

Benjamin Britten | War Requiem
Remembrance Sunday
9 November 2014, 3:30pm – Royal Albert Hall, London

Royal Choral Society
London Philharmonic Orchestra

Trinity Boys Choir
Conductor Richard Cooke
Soprano Ekaterina Scherbachenko
Tenor Stephan Rügamer
Bass-Baritone Bryn Terfel


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