Sir Harrison Birtwistle: The World is Discovered

Sir Harrison Birtwistle The World is Discovered
The World is Discovered

Sir Harrison Birtwistle: The World is Discovered

Year of composition:
1961
Scored for:
for chamber ensemble
Composer:
Sir Harrison Birtwistle
Instrumentation:
2 2 2 2 - 2 0 0 0 - hp, guit
Instrumentation details:
1st flute
2nd flute
oboe
cor anglais
1st clarinet in Bb
2nd clarinet in Bb (+basset hn or bass cl(Bb))
1st bassoon
2nd bassoon
1st horn in F
2nd horn in F
harp
guitar
Commission:
Commissioned by Tonus Musical Promotions (Anthony Friese-Green)
Duration:
12’
Dedication:
To Peter Maxwell Davies
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The complete perusal score (PDF-preview)

Work introduction

Birtwistle's source of inspiration here was twofold: firstly, an admiration for the music of Isaac, the 15th century Flemish master, whose instrumental canzonas he had been writing out for his pupils at Cranbourne Chase to play; and secondly, a visit to the Picasso exhibition at the Tate Gallery. At the Tate, some prominence was given to a number of studies in which Picasso had taken various aspects (technical and material) of a picture by Velasquez and had expanded and exploited each in a painting of his own. Birtwistle decided to take a group of Isaac canzonas and treat them in the same way. This does not mean that listeners will necessarily trace resemblances in the way that a Vittoria motet is recognisable in its kindred mass; they are there to help the composer rather than the audience.

The work is divided into alternate verse and chorus sections. The verses, for instance, are all wind solos with guitar, successively flute, clarinet and oboe, whereas the choruses use larger groups and are joined by the guitar only in the finale. There is a reference in the last chorus to Isaac's canzona Der Welte Fundt, from which the work derives its title.

AFG

Special prints

The World is Discovered

Sir Harrison Birtwistle: The World is Discovered

score
for chamber ensemble , 12’
Instr.: 2 2 2 2 - 2 0 0 0 - hp, guit

The World is Discovered

Sir Harrison Birtwistle: The World is Discovered

score
for chamber ensemble , 12’
Instr.: 2 2 2 2 - 2 0 0 0 - hp, guit

World première

Location:
London
Date:
05.03.1961
Orchestra:
Portia Wind Ensemble
Conductor:
James Verity

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