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The “new” in the New Music Dublin festival?

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 13 März 2014

Harrison Birtwistle (c) Marion KalterHere is the Irish Times’ take on last week’s New Music Dublin Festival, which took place at the National Concert Hall. The festival was attended by Harrison Birtwistle, who was on stage for a pre-performance discussion and gave a public interview.

On the programme were, among other works, Georg Friedrich Haas’ String Quartet No. 1 and “In iij. Noct.”,and Birtwistle’s Earth Dances.

Read the full article on the Irish Times.

Another review of the festival ist available on Golden Plec: “The [Arditti Quartet’s] performances are beyond belief, with a scintillating sound and commitment to the music” - congratulations!

 

Andrew Clements reviews Birtwistle: ★★★★★

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 21 Februar 2014

Harrison Birtwistle: The Moth RequiemAndrew Clements of The Guardian has reviewed an “outstanding” new recording of choral works by Sir Harrison Birtwistle. The recording includes the eponymous Moth Requiem, Three Latin Motets from The Last Supper, Carmen Paschale, Lullaby, On the Sheer Threshold of the Night, all of which have been recorded for the first time. The album has been recorded by Roderick Williams, the BBC Singers and the Nash Ensemble (cond. Nicholas Kok).

Read the full review on The Guardian.

The winners of the Coups de Coeur Musique Contemporaine

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 29 Oktober 2013

Coup de Coeur 2013Congratulations!

The winning recordings of this year’s Coups de Coeur Musique Contemporaine of the Académie Charles Cros have been announced.

Among them: Friedrich Cerha’s Schlagzeugkonzert; Impulse für Orchester on Kairos, Harrison Birtwistle’s Complete String Quartets on AEON, and Morton Feldman’s Violin and Orchestra on the ECM New Series.

Read a review of Birtwsitle’s Complete String Quartets on The Guardian.

Service and Maddocks on “the brilliance of Birtwistle”

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 05 August 2013

Harrison Birtwistle at the Salzburg Festival (c) Universal Edition, Wolfgang SchauflerFind Tom Service’s “quick word from Salzburg” on Sir Harrison Birtwistle’s presence (and brilliance) at the Salzburg Festival on The Guardian, where he describes the “Klangforum's performance of the 1984 masterpiece Secret Theatre [as] a Birtwistlean thrill ride of explosivity and stasis; Sylvain Cambreling conducted with uncompromising precision, energy, and hell-for-leather speeds that pushed his players to their expressive and technical limits.”

And while we’re at it: Fiona Maddocks reviewed Gawain Birtwistle's “epic opera, which launched the Salzburg season to noisy ovations and plenty of controversy last week” – for The Observer, you can find the full review here.

Birtwistle and Cambreling in Salzburg

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 01 August 2013

Harrison Birtwistle, Sylvain Cambreling (c) Universal Edition, Wolfgang SchauflerSir Harrison Birtwistle and Sylvain Cambreling with the Klangforum Wien before and after yesterday’s performances at the Kollegienkirche in Salzburg during the Salzburg Festival.

Birtwistle’s Cortege, Secret Theatre, Tombeau in memoriam Igor Stravinsky and 9 Settings of Celan were on the programme.

Birtwistle’s Gawain: live stream of the Austrian première at the Salzburg Festival

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 25 Juli 2013

Ingo Metzmacher, ORF RSO Wien (c) Universal Edition, Wolfgang SchauflerIf you can’t be at the Salzburg Festival this year to see Harrison Birtwistle’s Gawain: Ö1 offers a live stream on their homepage:

Ö1Ö1 Webradio, listen live

The stream starts today, 26 July, 19:30 (cet/cest).

Harrison Birtwistle: Gawain
opera in 2 acts | 150’
3 3 3 3 - 4 3 3 3 - 2. Horn in F offstage, 4. Horn in F offstage, timp, perc, vib, hp, mar, cimb, vln, vln, vln, vln, vln, vln, vln, vla(2), vc(2), cb(2)
Austrian prem. 26/7/2013, Felsenreitschule; ORF RSO Wien, cond. Ingo Metzmacher

Rehearsals for Birtwistle’s Gawain with Ingo Metzmacher and the ORF RSO

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 22 Juli 2013

Gawain rehearsal (c) Wolfgang SchauflerIngo Metzmacher and the ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien at the rehearsals for the Austrian première of Harrison Birtwistle’s Gawain at the Salzburg Festival on 26 July 2013.

The opera in 2 acts will open this year’s opera programme; an interview with Harrison Birtwistle about Gawain is available in our Musikblätter 5.

Harrison Birtwistle: Gawain
opera in 2 acts | 150’
3 3 3 3 - 4 3 3 3 - 2. Horn in F offstage, 4. Horn in F offstage, timp, perc, vib, hp, mar, cimb, vln, vln, vln, vln, vln, vln, vln, vla(2), vc(2), cb(2)
Austrian prem. 26/7/2013, Felsenreitschule; ORF RSO Wien, cond. Ingo Metzmacher
Further performances: 29/7/2013, 2, 8 and 15/8/2013

Happy Birthday Harrison Birtwistle

Posted by Johannes Feigl on 15 Juli 2013

Harrison Birtwistle (c) Eric Marinitsch, Universal EditionHappy Birthday Harrison Birtwistle!

We are amazed to see how many of your works will be performed at the Salzburg Festival! A full list is available here, some of the highlights:

Harrison Birtwistle: Cortege
for 14 musicians | 15’
1 1 1 1 - 1 1 0 0 - pno, bass tpt, b.d, vln(2), vla, vc, cb
31/7/2013, Kollegienkirche; Klangforum Wien, cond. Sylvain Cambreling

Harrison Birtwistle: Gawain
opera in 2 acts | 150’
3 3 3 3 - 4 3 3 3 - 2. Horn in F offstage, 4. Horn in F offstage, timp, perc, vib, hp, mar, cimb, vln, vln, vln, vln, vln, vln, vln, vla(2), vc(2), cb(2)
26/7/2013, Felsenreitschule; Christopher Maltman, Gawain; John Tomlinson, The Green Knight/Bertilak de Hautdesert; Laura Aikin, Morgan le Fay; Jennifer Johnston, Lady de Hautdesert; Jeffrey Lloyd-Roberts, King Arthur; Andrew Watts, Bishop Baldwin; Brian Galliford, Fool
Salzburger Bachchor, ORF RSO Wien, cond. Ingo Metzmacher
Further performances: 29/7/2013, 2, 8 and 15/8/2013

Harrison Birtwistle: Secret Theatre
for chamber ensemble | 28’
1 1 1 1 - 1 1 1 0 - perc(1), pno, str(1 1 1 1 1)
31/7/2013, Kollegienkirche; Klangforum Wien, cond. Sylvain Cambreling

Harrison Birtwistle: Tombeau in memoriam Igor Stravinsky
for flute, clarinet, harp and string quartet | 3’
fl, cl, hp, vln(2), vla, vc
31/7/2013, Kollegienkirche; Klangforum Wien, cond. Sylvain Cambreling

In Portrait: Harrison Birtwistle

Posted on 24 Mai 2012

The London Sinfonietta presents a portrait of Harrison Birtwistle at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London tonight. David Atherton conducts.

On the programme are Cortege, Carmen Arcadiae Mechanicae Perpetuum, 5 Distances for 5 Instruments and the the UK première of In Broken Images.

In the first half of the concert, Tom Service talks to Harrison Birtwistle about his music.

Watch Birtwistle in conversation with the Southbank Centre’s Gillian Moore.

Watch on YouTube.

The Opera Group Rehearsing Birtwistle

Posted on 08 Mai 2012

The Opera Group and the London Sinfonietta perform Harrison Birtwistle's Bow Down this May.

Watch rehearsals with the composer here:

Watch on YouTube

The Ninth of March, by Berio and Birtwistle

Posted on 09 März 2012

Harrison Birtwistle (photo: Eric Marinitsch)

Harrison Birtwistle’s Silbury Air for chamber ensemble was given its world première on 9 March 1977 by the London Sinfonietta.

“Silbury Air is named after Silbury Hill, a prehistoric mound in Wiltshire, the biggest artificial mound in Europe, being 125 feet high and covering more than five acres. Its use and purpose, after centuries of speculation, still remain a mystery.”

(Harrison Birtwistle)

“A vigorous and eventful fifteen minute piece, full of sharp motoric rhythms that (until the very end) tend to accelerate.

The result is dramatic and immediately exciting, contradicting in its vitality the idea of static blocks of sound on which Birtwistle has usually relied, but equally showing the firmest possible architectural sense, with each section relating naturally and satisfyingly to the rest. With so much argument crammed into so relatively short a span, it is a work that cries out for early repetition.”

(Edward Greenfield, The Guardian 10.03.1977)



Luciano Berio’s La vera storia (Azione musicale in 2 parti) was given its world première on 9 March 1982 at the Scala in Milan.

“To say what happens in La Vera Storia is not easy, and I don’t know that it’s all that useful, granted that this is a work which tells its own story … If I weren’t afraid of being misunderstood or appearing rude, I wouldn’t even have written these lines.“

(Luciano Berio)

Wolfgang Schreiber said of the première: “Berio’s theme is tension, and the violent conflict between individual and state or society, of people and power, of freedom and authority.”

Gawain’s Journey to Munich

Posted on 17 Februar 2012

Stefan Asbury

Harrison Birtwistle’s Gawains Journey is performed by the RSO Munich tonight, conducted by Stefan Asbury. The concert also includes a new work by Enno Poppe and Charles Ives’ Robert Browning Overture.

Gerald Larner wrote in The Guardian that Gawain’s Journey is “a dramatic concert piece and a bruising but exhilarating experience for the audience.”

Tonight at Wien Modern: Burt, Staud, Cerha, Birtwistle

Posted on 03 November 2011

Wien ModernThe RSO Vienna performs under Johannes Kalitzke tonight at the Wien Modern festival.

The first half of the concert consists of orchestral miniatures, including excerpts of Francis Burt’s Morgana, Johannes Maria Staud’s ‘Eck’ from his work Polygon and Friedrich Cerha’s Momente.

After the interval, Harrison Birtwistle’s 30-minute The Triumph of Time will be performed.

The concert is broadcast on ORF Radio 1 on Friday 4 November at 19:30 Vienna time.

Birtwistle on Birtwistle

Posted on 22 August 2011

Our friends at Boosey & Hawkes have produced this marvellous film with Sir Harrison Birtwistle, in which he talks about his music (and his tomatoes).

Watch on the Boosey.com website.

For a list of works published by UE, see this page.
For a list of works published by Boosey & Hawkes, see this page.

Feldman, Birtwistle and Mahler news

Posted on 25 Juli 2011

Triadic MemoriesFrom this weekend’s blogs and tweets:

Alex Ross reports on a performance of Morton Feldman’s Triadic Memories at a floating concert hall in New York.

MahlerNews reports on Twitter that Michael Tilson Thomas’ DVD “Keeping Score: Mahler” has won a German Record Critics’ Prize (Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik).

And Norman Lebrecht spots Harrison Birtwistle watching cricket at Lords.