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Britten’s homage to International Brigades in this year’s Proms

Benjamin Britten’s requiem for fallen International Brigaders will be heard on 9 August at this year’s BBC Proms festival of orchestral music.

‘Ballad of Heroes’ will be performed by the BBC National Orchestra and the Chorus of Wales in a programme that also includes works by Brian Ellias and Elgar.

With its libretto taken from poems by Randall Swingler and WH Auden, Britten’s ‘most overtly political work’, according to the BBC, was premiered in London in April 1939. Present were International Brigade veterans and the banners of the British Battalion in Spain. It has rarely been performed live since then.

The 2017 Proms programme goes on to describe ‘Ballad of Heroes’ as ‘an impassioned musical stand against fascism’, and one that anticipates the composer’s ‘War Requiem’.

Proms concerts are broadcast live on BBC Radio 3. Bookings: www.royalalberthall.com/tickets/proms/proms-2017/prom-32-britten-brain-e...

Posted on 24 May 2017.