Sir Harrison Birtwistle: An Imaginary Landscape

Sir Harrison Birtwistle An Imaginary Landscape
An Imaginary Landscape

Sir Harrison Birtwistle: An Imaginary Landscape

Year of composition:
1971
Scored for:
for brass, percussion and double basses
Composer:
Sir Harrison Birtwistle
Instrumentation:
0 0 0 0 - 4 4 3 1 - timp(2), perc(2), cb(4)
Instrumentation details:
1st horn
2nd horn
3rd horn
4th horn
1st trumpet
2nd trumpet
3rd trumpet
4th trumpet
1st trombone
2nd trombone
3rd trombone
tuba
1st timpani
2nd timpani
1st percussion (+xyl
vib
t-tam
Fingercymbeln)
2nd percussion (+xyl
vib
3x t-tam
Fingercymbeln)
1, 2th double bass
3, 4th double bass
5, 6th double bass
7, 8th double bass
Commission:
Commissioned by the BBC for the ISCM Festival in London, June 1971.
Remarks:
in memoriam of the composer's mother
Duration:
20’
Dedication:
To the memory of my Mother
More Less

Audiosamples

An Imaginary Landscape
00:00

Work introduction

... By the time he composed An Imaginary Landscape Birtwistle was beginning to move towards the sound world of his stage work on the Orpheus legend. If one wanted to find a portmanteau title for a Birtwistle work of that period, (which includes his most celebrated early score, The Triumph of Time) then „imaginary landscape“ would be as good as any. It is a title first used by John Cage for a series of electronic works in the early 1950s but it is peculiarly appropriate for a composer who has frequently used a geographical metaphor to describe the way a listener might orientate his or herself in his music: „One starts, stops, moves around, looks at the overall view, fixes one’s attention on a particular feature or on a detail of that feature or on a fragment of that detail or on the texture of that fragment.“

Birtwistle calls An Imaginary Landscape a „processional“, and the progress of the music is that of a steadily unfolding musical frieze which seems to be oblivious to the passage of normal human time. The ensemble of brass, percussion and doubles basses is divided into instrumental choirs, which are reassigned in the middle of the work; the groups of instruments call to each other, oppose or ally themselves with their colleagues, until finally they abandon their separate identities to play together for the final, very quiet chorale, composed in memory of the composer’s mother.

Andrew Clements

From our online shop

World première

Location:
London
Date:
02.06.1971
Orchestra:
BBC Symphony Orchestra
Conductor:
Pierre Boulez

Other works

Sign up for our newsletter!

You will regularly receive information about new scores with free downloads, current prize games and news about our composers.