Did YOU sing for Benjamin Britten? Decca Records search for members of the ... trends now

Did YOU sing for Benjamin Britten? Decca Records search for members of the ... trends now
Did YOU sing for Benjamin Britten? Decca Records search for members of the ... trends now

Did YOU sing for Benjamin Britten? Decca Records search for members of the ... trends now

Filled with poignant verses from tragic First World War poet Wilfred Owen, it was swiftly declared a masterpiece.

Benjamin Britten's War Requiem was first recorded in January 1963 with the help of boys from the choir of the exclusive Highgate School.

Now, 60 years on, the hunt is on to find the original choristers so they can be brought together to listen to a restored version of the piece. 

Decca Records, who have produced the new version, are calling on the former choir boys - who will now be in their 70s - to come forward. 

The original recording was performed in Holborn at Kingsway Hall, which was demolished in 1998. 

The rendition - which combined the traditional Latin Requiem Mass with Owen's moving words - sold 200,000 copies in the first five months of its release in May 1963. 

Filled with poignant verses from tragic First World War poet Wilfred Owen, it was swiftly declared a masterpiece. Benjamin Britten's War Requiem was first recorded in 1963 with the help of boys from the choir of the exclusive Highgate School. Above: Members of the choir during the recording at Kingsway Hall in Holborn

Filled with poignant verses from tragic First World War poet Wilfred Owen, it was swiftly declared a masterpiece. Benjamin Britten's War Requiem was first recorded in 1963 with the help of boys from the choir of the exclusive Highgate School. Above: Members of the choir during the recording at Kingsway Hall in Holborn

Britten began work on his composition in 1961 and it was first performed in May the following year to mark the consecration of Coventry Cathedral, which had been re-built after the original was destroyed in a Nazi bombing raid in the Second World War.

Famed Russian soprano Galina Vishnevskaya lended her voice to the recording in Kingsway Hall, despite initially venting her fury that she was having to perform with the choir.

Upset that male soloists Peter Pears and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau were at the front of the group with Britten, she 'lost her head', producer John Calshaw recalled.

He told how she 'shrieked at the top of her voice', adding: 'You would really have been excused for thinking that an extremely painful process of torture was in progress.'

However, Vishnevskaya, who died in 2012, reappeared the following day and the recording went ahead as planned.   

Composer John Rutter, 78, who was part of the Highgate School choir, said: 'I think there are some recordings which transcend the time and the place that

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