Benjamin Britten's War Requiem at St Albans Cathedral

Wed, 19 June 2013

This year, the classical music world is marking the centenary of the life of Britain’s most prominent modern composer, Benjamin Britten. As part of the Britten centenary, the International Organ Festival in St Albans includes a rare performance of his War Requiem in St Albans Cathedral on Saturday 13 July.

St Albans Cathedral is Setting for Epic Choral Work Marking Centenary of Composer’s Birth

This epic setting of the Latin text from the Mass for the Dead, interwoven with poems by Wilfred Owen, isn’t performed very often, as it calls for a huge orchestra (in this case Britten Sinfonia), including four percussionists, augmented brass section, separate chamber orchestra, three choirs (St Albans Bach Choir, Mosaic and the choristers from St Albans Cathderal) and three soloists (Geraldine McGreevy, John Mark Ainsley and Wolfgang Holzmair), under the baton of renowned conductor Sir Richard Armstrong.

Unusually, the concert will be performed from the west end of the Cathedral in order to accommodate the large number of people on stage, but also providing a backdrop of fading evening light through the great west window as the music unfolds.

The War Requiem is a work of great musical contrasts – and intense emotion. Britten was a pacifist and chose Owen’s poetry to illustrate his own feelings about the death and dislocation war brings.

The Archbishop of Canterbury recently spoke about the impact the War Requiem had on him and its enduring significance today.

Saturday 13 July, 8:15 pm St Albans Cathedral


Geraldine McGreevy soprano
John Mark Ainsley tenor
Wolfgang Holzmair baritone
St Albans Bach Choir, Mosaic Chamber
Choir, Choristers of St Albans Cathedral
Britten Sinfonia
Sir Richard Armstrong conductor

Tickets £15-£30 Box office telephone: 01727 846126

For further information contact Angela Tucker at or call 01727 844765. Full details of all the Concerts in the Festival can be found at

Plan your visit

Download our brochure

Book Tickets