Sir Harrison Birtwistle: Secret Theatre

Sir Harrison Birtwistle Secret Theatre
Secret Theatre

Sir Harrison Birtwistle: Secret Theatre

Year of composition:
1984
Scored for:
for chamber ensemble
Composer:
Sir Harrison Birtwistle
Instrumentation:
1 1 1 1 - 1 1 1 0 - perc(1), pno, str(1 1 1 1 1)
Instrumentation details:
flute (+picc)
oboe
clarinet in Bb
bassoon (+cbsn)
horn in F
trumpet in C (+picc.tpt in Bb)
trombone
percussion
piano
1st violin
2nd violin
viola
violoncello
contrabass
Commission:
Commissioned by the London Sinfonietta (with funds provided by the Arts Council of Great Britain and the London Sinfonietta)
Duration:
28’
Dedication:
Dedicated to Sheila Birtwistle
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Audiosamples

Secret Theatre
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The complete perusal score (PDF-preview)

Work introduction

Secret Theatre is a classic of the international ensemble literature. As the title implies, it is instrumental theatre; great commotion predominates among the conflicting voices until one of them is allowed to present a monologue. The music becomes calm, the soloist “sings” a melody while the other voices comment, but soon the general ruckus returns. Birtwistle says, “What I do is something I call instrumental role-playing … I don’t write an actual piece and then add a number of instruments – it is more like a play with persons that way, how they sound and what they say.”

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World première

Location:
London
Date:
18.10.1984
Orchestra:
London Sinfonietta
Conductor:
David Atherton

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