Britten War Requiem 2013
In January 2013, Gabrieli assembled a cast of over 300 musicians to make a centenary recording of Britten’s War Requiem. Musicians from across the generations and across the continent included the Wroclaw Philharmonic Choir, Gabrieli Young Singers Scheme, Trebles of New College Choir, Oxford, soloists Susan Gritton, John Mark Ainsley and Christopher Maltman alongside Gabrieli.
“…McCreesh creates a vast crescendo and pauses for an awestruck moment before an incandescent Hosanna, with heart-stopping results. The Gabrielis and Wroclaw Philharmonic Choir are joined by young voices, and it shows in a choral sound of airy, pure brilliance. His New College choristers have the ideal mix of celestial glow and nimble impatience; his orchestra is wonderfully articulate. And the sound picture has the greatest depth and range of all the recordings … the profundity and coherence of McCreesh’s reading sets a new standard for this work… ”BBC Music Magazine
“…an electrifying and fastidiously detailed account of the Britten. Both choruses and orchestra are first-rate… detail is vividly captured, but there’s also an amazing sense of depth and perspective…”The Dallas Morning News
“…the McCreesh War Requiem, taped in the studio by combined British and Polish forces, has the presence and intensity of a live Cathedral performance: it sets new standards for this strangely moving choral work. The Wroclaw Philharmonic Choir projects the Latin liturgical texts with radiant luminosity, matched by the trebles of the Choir of New College Oxford, while the three soloists – Susan Gritton, John Mark Ainsley and Christopher Maltman – combine poise and conviction. McCreesh brings astonishing clarity to the work’s musical syntax … Here is a recording worthy of the Britten centenary.”The Financial Times
“The latest in Paul McCreesh’s presentations of large-scale oratorios again uses the massed forces of the Gabrieli Consort & Players with the Wroclaw Philharmonic Choir – more than 300 performers in all. The result is another triumphant realisation of a complex, multi-layered work… ”The Independent
“…tenor John Mark Ainsley – who really hits the spot for me … the depth, detail and fidelity of McCreesh’s new [recording] is at another level. In the Requiem Aeternam, McCreesh makes the bells more telling than Britten’s recording and it’s just so beautiful, the sound has so much space and clarity … 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.”CD Review, BBC Radio Three
“Using more than 300 performers, headed by Paul McCreesh’s Gabrieli Consort and Players, this combined Anglo-Polish performance of Britten’s pacifist choral masterpiece, celebrating the composer’s centenary, is thrilling in many places … some sensationally good instrumental playing...
“…The seven choirs have been forged into a high-class, responsive whole and McCreesh leads them in a natural performance - speeds are never rushed or flagging, and the music breathes. … John Mark Ainsley and Christopher Maltman are able to sing with conversational intimacy, while letting through plenty of instrumental detail … Ainsley is almost unbearably tender in ‘Move him into the sun’… ”The Gramophone
“…It is impossible for anyone with warm blood not to be deeply moved by this masterwork of Britten’s — especially when performed as well as on this new recording led by British conductor Paul McCreesh. … This recording is one of the great keepsakes of this Britten centennial year…”Musical Toronto
“This fiftieth anniversary recording comes pretty well at the top of the modern list [of recordings]… ”MusicWeb International
“…Britten’s extraordinary pacifist statement is powerful in the hands of Paul McCreesh and his British-Polish mix of musicians … This is a poised, visceral, brilliantly hued and highly charged performance that deserves to become a benchmark recording.”Sinfini Music
“…McCreesh clearly feels this work intimately … If the conducting is a revelation, the soloists are outstanding… ”Auditorium
“…Splendid choral singing has been a notable feature of McCreesh’s Berlioz and Mendelssohn recordings and it’s just as evident here … The instrumental playing is superb … Paul McCreesh yet again shows himself to have full command of very large forces. He clearly has the measure of the work…”Music Web International
“…Paul McCreesh … seldom misses an opportunity to bring out a rarely appreciated detail, perhaps motivated in part by working here with an excellent hand-picked ensemble … His approach is matched by an unfailingly clear recording… ”International Record Review
“…This new recording is a considerable achievement for all those involved. Paul McCreesh manages these large forces brilliantly to bring us a terrific performance. … this new release, with excellent sound and first rate presentation, ranks as one of the finest of modern performances.”theclassicalreviewer.blogspot.com