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This weekend sees a special performance of Britten’s War Requiem in Coventry Cathedral, to mark 70 years since a 10-hour Luftwaffe air raid destroyed much of the city. It will be broadcast on Classic FM on Sunday at 8pm.
Coventry Cathedral was one of the many buildings that burned down during the air raid in 1940. Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem was composed to mark the consecration of the new Cathedral in 1962.
On Saturday evening it will be performed in the Cathedral by ensembles including the Parliament Choir, Southbank Sinfonia and director Kerry Beaumont.
Sir Paul Hayter, until recently Clerk of the Parliaments, was one of the earliest members of the Parliament Choir. He comments on the performance:
"This is such a tremendous occasion, I couldn’t miss the opportunity to return. I sang in Coventry Cathedral very soon after it was opened but not in the War Requiem so this is an occasion absolutely not to be missed."
Fiona McTaggart, MP for Slough, also in the Parliament Choir, says:
"This weekend, singing the War Requiem, will be the first time since I was elected 13 years ago that I’m not with Remembrance Sunday in my constituency, because the opportunity to sing this wonderful piece of music in Coventry Catehdral where it was commissioned is so moving that I couldn’t pass it up."
Hear this concert on Classic FM in David Mellor’s programme on Sunday at 8pm, when it will be broadcast in full.