Following their acclaimed recordings of Berlioz’ ’Grande Messe des Morts’ and Mendelssohn’s ’Elijah’, Paul McCreesh has once again assembled the mass forces of Gabrieli Consort & Players and Wroclaw Phiharmonic Choir to record one of the iconic masterpieces of the 20th-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 provide 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 BBC Music Magazine Award for Technical Excellence and two Diapason d’Or awards.
*** (Good Album)
Xavier de Gaulle - Classica magazine - February 2014
"...Paul McCreesh’s new performance ... has properly international credentials. Britten famously wrote the solo parts for a Russian, an English and a German singer, and while the trio here is completely British, the 170-voice chrous mixes with seven British aggregations with Poland’s Wroclaw Philharmonic Choir, with which McCreesh has enjoyed a strong professional association. There’s the requisite sense of occasion here, too, with the spacious Watford acoustic asserting itself grandly in the big liturgical pages of the score but never obscuring the subtle details of the Chamber-scored Owen poetry. Tenor John Mark Ainsley and baritone Chirstopher Maltman are compellingly eloquent Owen surrogates ..."
Patrick Dillon - Opera News magazine - February 2014