As Benjamin Britten’s 100th birthday approaches — he was born on November 22, 1913 — NPR Music is marking the occasion by offering free streaming of Warner Classics’ soon-to-be-issued new recording of the composer’s “War Requiem.” An undisputed 20th-century masterpiece, the work is a harrowing anti-war statement that never loses its visceral and emotional impact.  Thomas Hampson is joined on the recording by soprano Anna Netrebko and tenor Ian Bostridge, with Antonio Pappano conducting the Orchestra and Chorus of the Academia Nazionalle di Santa Cecilia. NPR calls it, “A stunning performance…[that] makes clear just how much Britten’s music continues to mean to audiences and artists alike.”  Streaming is available here:

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In song, you have one of the most amazing diaries of any generation’s culture at a given time.

Thomas Hampson