Music: Modern Masterwork

I am the enemy you killed, my friend.

I knew you in this dark; for so you frowned

Yesterday through me as you jabbed and killed.

I parried; but my hands were loath and cold.

The text was by England's great World War I poet, Wilfred Owen, who was killed in France a week before the Armistice. The music was by Benjamin Britten, a passionate pacifist and conscientious objector during World War II. After the chorus in West Berlin's Deutsche Oper had chanted the final line of Britten's War Requiem, the stunned audience sat in utter silence. Then came volleys of applause. Britten's nonliturgical Mass...

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