Review: Britten’s War Requiem by The Oregon Symphony

On Saturday I sat through the Oregon Symphony’s performance of Britten’s War Requiem. I’m taking a fine arts class (it’s a requirement) in college and one of the requirements of the class is to attend the symphony, so I did. I thought I’d do a brief review of the experience 🙂

This was my first time attending a professional symphony. Portlanders know The Schnitz, and for good reason. The building is gorgeous. Simply amazing. And this is coming from someone who had very crappy seats 🙂 I sat in the back under  the extremely large balcony. Apparently that’s were the worst sound is, but don’t quote me 🙂 It sounded decently well from where I was sitting. But anyway about the balcony, the underside of it was absolutely beautiful…I never thought I’d ever say that about the bottom of a balcony, but see for yourself

the schnitz

The whole building is like this! It’s gorgeous. I wish I could have taken more photo’s but since there wasn’t an intermission, I didn’t have time to.

The actual symphony was alright. The performers did wonderful, I just wasn’t a big fan of the actual symphony. Britten’s War Requiem is a symphony with Latin and English singing thrown in. The Latin is from the Catholic death mass, I think (I’m not Catholic so don’t hate me if I’m wrong). The English, sung by a baritone and tenor, are fragments of Wilfred Owen’s poetry. Owen’s poetry is beautiful, and sorrowful. He wrote his poetry during WWI, during which he passed away a week before it ended. His poems all reflect the misery of war. Sadly I don’t think that the symphony did it justice. I think that this poetry was just not meant to be sung. I understand why Britten used it, he was trying to write a call for peace in a way, but the poetry was more haunting said than sung (once again my opinion).

Despite this I think it was a wonderful experience. If anyone is ever in Portland, I urge you to attend one of our symphony’s. At the very least you’ll enjoy the building 😉


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