Britten War Requiem Vishnevskaya/Pears/Fischer-Die 4757511
. . . [an] iconic recording . . . Who but Pears could have intoned "Strange Meeting" with such spectral eeriness? Who has ever matched the furious authority of Fischer-Dieskau's "Be slowly lifted up"? Listening again reminds of just how extraordinary Vishnevskaya's voice was, too: darkly voluptuous with a core of steel. Her anguished cry of "Lacrimosa" has lost none of its visceral power. Britten succeeded, too, in evoking that spine-tingling burst of stratospheric sound from the Highgate boys choir which hardly sounds human. His incandescent commitment to pacifism and horror at the failure of humanity blazes forth . . . Britten wanted real terror, real hysteria from the singers, and he got it.
This is one of the great performances of recording history.
This is such a rich work and the rehearsal extract with Britten coaxing the performers, is a real bonus.