Britten composed the War Requiem
for the consecration of the Cathedral of Coventry, which was destroyed during the Second World War: a new church was erected next to the ruins of the old one.
Likewise, the music constantly balances between classical harmonies and modern dissonance. The traditional Requiem text alternates with verses by the poet-soldier Wilfred Owen, who died during the First World War at the age of twenty-five. The texts are about death and destruction, but the music of Britten, a confirmed pacifist, is very much in tune with the hope that glows between the lines.