Talk:Sinfonia da Requiem

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Does this ring a bell ...[edit]

Thought I heard an item on the radio, about the original version of the finale (?) having been kept by the Japanese, and Britten having had to write a new one. Can't seem to find this anywhere just right now, but I may not be looking in the right places. Also, the Britten (ed. etc) Letters uses "ostensibly" before rejected-on-grounds-of-religious etc.; some sources there would be good. (Kansas City Concert Program Notes mention Britten's grief over recent family death - his father - as another source behind the piece, besides the commission, but this I would like better sourced than that, just personally) Schissel | Sound the Note! 16:48, 7 December 2008 (UTC)

Why a requiem?[edit]

Asked for a work to help celebrate the 2600th anniversary of the founding of an empire, Britten writes a requiem? Why a requiem, rather than a more upbeat festive work for such an occasion? It's like holding a birthday party at an open grave. -- Jack of Oz ... speak! ... 20:09, 2 November 2010 (UTC)


The last paragraph of Sinfonia da Requiem#Anti-war tone reads:

Britten's politically themed works before 1939 had not proved popular. While his publisher, Boosey & Hawkes, had supported him in his composition, it had also tried to encourage him to write more conventional pieces, suggesting, for example, a piano concerto for the BBC and a ballet for Sadler's Wells. The war changed all this. Before the Sinfonia, the Ballad of Heroes and Advance Democracy did well because of their political themes.[15]

The last two sentences fail to support the first. "Conventional" implies musically conventional -- was the intention "politically neutral"? The last sentence doesn't bear out the first; if anything, it tends to contradict it. --Stfg (talk) 10:13, 8 February 2013 (UTC)


I removed the reference to the Oregon Symphony's recording of the piece. Why it needed special mention in this article, especially given the dozens of far superior recordings available, not least of which is the composer's own, is beyond me. CurryTime7-24 (talk) 03:18, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

Formatting problem[edit]

I notice that, in the process of adding music examples to illustrate the analysis of the symphony, User:Profbounds removed the block-quote formatting of an extended quotation from Herbert Glass's LA Philharmonic programme notes. Profbounds's edit summary makes clear the reasoning for this change, which is to facilitate placement of the music examples within the text. I think this nevertheless creates a problem, in that it is no longer clear what is being quoted and what is not. The footnote that concluded the original block-quote now appear to document only the short portion of the text following the final music example, which potentially opens the rest to a copyvio charge, even though there is an introductory phrase attributing the quotation to the LA Philharmonic (instead of Mr. Glass). My first impulse was to restore the block indents, but upon checking the source, I see that the music examples are not part of the quoted material. This is a tricky problem, and I thought it better to bring this up for discussion here, before wading in with my size twelves.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 00:06, 20 September 2015 (UTC)

I had second thoughts about that myself. I was going to revert back and maybe add a section underneath with the examples. It would look a little wonky but would retain the extended quotation.Profbounds (talk) 15:42, 20 September 2015 (UTC)
It would be a pity to have to do this, but there is another difficulty. Because Glass's programme note includes neither music examples nor bar numbers, there is no way to verify that your music examples actually illustrate the correct passages in every case. Obviously, if Glass (or rather, Britten, since Glass is quoting the composer) says something like, "the movement opens with a six-bar theme ...", there is little room for error but, when he says things like, "there is a middle section" or "the scheme of the movement is a series of climaxes of which the last is the most powerful", it requires some judgment to establish just which bars of music are meant. Do you have any thoughts on how to avoid a charge of Original Research in such cases? Of course, if Britten's analysis is published somewhere else with music examples, citing that version would solve everything.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 00:04, 21 September 2015 (UTC)
When you know the score so well, it is obvious to which passages he/she is referring. To quote from the WikiProject Classical music Guidelines: "In general, it is permitted to make factual observations based on examination of the musical score of a work. Such observations should be limited to those agreed upon by virtually anyone with musical training, for instance "the trio section is in F major" or "the finale is in sonata form". Statements that are clearly interpretations, not observations ("the opening four notes of the Fifth Symphony are echoed by similar passages throughout the four movements") should not be inserted by editors, since they violate the policy against original research; though they can be quoted from source material if this is suitably cited." I see Glass/Britten's statements more as factual observations than interpretations. If there were room for debate about which thematic passages Glass meant, I suppose one could argue that the musical example would be Original Research. Would the same rule apply to other works of art? If an article on "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" mentioned the song sung by the sorting hat, would there need to be outside sources cited to prove exactly which passage was meant? If J. K. Rowling was quoted in a passage that mentioned Harry Potter's red-headed, best friend, would it be original research to post a picture of Ron? The musical examples come straight from the score and I feel meet the "agreed upon by virtually anyone with musical training" clause. However, if anyone raised a concern about possible "interpretation" as regards to multiple passages that might meet the criteria of the analysis, then, an argument for Original Research might be made. Could 10 musicians read Glass/Britten's description and point to the same passage in the score without fail? I would say, "Yes." If I were uncertain about which musical example to include I would refrain from posting one and/or ask the community for help.Profbounds (talk) 01:13, 21 September 2015 (UTC)
Fair enough, though invoking "(trained) musicians" is a bit dodgy, since not all readers of this article possess that expertise, which means that any editor claiming such a thing is at the same time claiming special knowledge, which no anonymous editor is entitled to do. Moving the examples to a separate section does have the advantage of not directly connecting them with the text, and you certainly are not going to catch any flak from me. It is always well to anticipate problems where possible, however.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 03:49, 21 September 2015 (UTC)