Orchestre de Paris – War Requiem, Usher Hall, Edinburgh * * * * *
The choral forces were no less contributory. Aidan Oliver’s Edinburgh Festival Chorus was engaging and assertive, even-toned across the entire expressive range, with unanimity of attack that superheated every emotional utterance. The “n” in the final Amen drifted magically into prolonged silence.
Added to which, Christopher Bell’s NYCoS National Girls Choir imbued its offstage role with crystal clear diction, ringing purity of tone, and that essential ethereal sheen.
Harding’s vision of the piece – a haunting juxtaposition of texts from the Latin Requiem Mass and Owen’s poetry – was both incisive and calming. Britten’s message of futility hit the spot.