It is regarded by many as his masterpiece in the non-operatic sphere: Britten's War Requiem, premiered in 1962 to celebrate the opening of the new cathedral at Coventry, built to replace the one destroyed during the war. Britten used the opportunity to write a milestone of post-war music history: In memory of the war dead he combined texts of a Latin mass with 20th-century poems and set his deeply held pacifist and humanitarian beliefs to music. The requiem's direct style has overwhelmed audiences for more than fifty years.
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