Britten’s “War Requiem” with the National Youth Orchestra of Germany

Britten’s “War Requiem” with the National Youth Orchestra of Germany

Bundesjugendorchester
Thomas Neuhoff

  • Benjamin Britten
    War Requiem for Soloists, large Choir, Children’s Choir, large Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra

    Banu Böke soprano, James Gilchrist tenor, Erik Sohn baritone, Chor des Bach-Vereins Köln e.V., Kinderchor N. N.

It is exactly a decade ago that the Berliner Philharmoniker set themselves the task of regularly inviting some of the best youth orchestras from all over the world to Berlin. Since then, the National Youth Orchestra of Germany has been a frequent guest at the Scharoun-designed Philharmonie; the Berliner Philharmoniker have been a patron of the long-established youth orchestra since 2013. Its approximately 100 members are between 15 and 20 years of age. Most of them still have their professional training to become a professional musicians before them – if they decide to do so at all, for the intention to take up a career as a musician is by no means a prerequisite for admission to the orchestra.

High technical ability, a love of music, and the desire to be a team player are sufficient to become a part of an orchestra which Sir Simon Rattle described in their guestbook in 2015 as follows: “You are sensationally good!” But this is not the only reason you should not miss any of the Berlin guest performances by the National Youth Orchestra of Germany: due to the strict age limits, the members of this orchestra, which delights audiences with its infectiously vital performances, change constantly – so each of its concerts is in both senses a “unique” experience.

For their concert this year given at the invitation of the Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation, the National Youth Orchestra of Germany has programmed Benjamin Britten’s 1966 War Requiem, a singular work of 20th-century musical history: written for three vocalists, a boy’s choir, a mixed chorus, a chamber orchestra and a symphony orchestra, it is nothing less than a highly complex and immediately poignant musical contribution to the European idea of international understanding – and who better to represent this than an orchestra of young musicians supported by an internationally acclaimed trio of vocalists?

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