Universal Edition - Sir Harrison Birtwistle – Nenia: The Death of Orpheus

Sir Harrison Birtwistle

Sir Harrison Birtwistle
Nenia: The Death of Orpheus

Year of composition: 1970
Scored for: for soprano, 3 bass clarinets, crotales and piano
Composer: Sir Harrison Birtwistle
Text Author: Peter Zinovieff
Soloists: soprano
Instrumentation details:

Commissioned by: Commissioned by Jane Manning
Duration: 15′
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Audio Excerpt

Nenia: The Death of Orpheus

World Première

Location: Maida Vale Studios London / Great Britain
Date: 20.11.1970
Main Soloists: Jane Manning and Matrix (Alan Hacker, Ian Mitchell, Francis Chrisrou, Paul Crossley and Tristan Fry)

Work Introduction

Nenia was the young composer’s first confrontation with the myth of Orpheus, followed later on by a number of other works in various generic groups (including his opera The Mask of Orpheus). Nenia is no traditional jeremiad; the new way of handling the voice was still very much in the air, four years after Berio’s Sequenza III. This lament is more hysterical (with its huge leaps in the soprano part) than dazed; only near the end does the singing break off, the soprano reciting words on the hero’s death. Birtwistle’s imaginative use of the unorthodox ensemble is remarkable.

Study score – Nenia on the death of Orpheus

  • for soprano, 3 bass clarinets, crotales and piano
  • Edition type: study score
  • Language: English
  • UE15410
  • ISBN: 978-3-7024-2164-9
  • ISMN: 979-0-008-04602-5
EUR 46,95

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