Sir Harrison Birtwistle: An Imaginary Landscape

Sir Harrison Birtwistle An Imaginary Landscape
An Imaginary Landscape

Sir Harrison Birtwistle: An Imaginary Landscape

Year of composition:
Scored for:
for brass, percussion and double basses
Sir Harrison Birtwistle
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
1st timpani
2nd timpani
1st percussion (+xyl
2nd percussion (+xyl
3x t-tam
1, 2th double bass
3, 4th double bass
5, 6th double bass
7, 8th double bass
Commissioned by the BBC for the ISCM Festival in London, June 1971.
in memoriam of the composer's mother
To the memory of my Mother
More Less

Prices incl. VAT plus shipping costs

Product available

License request Hire request


An Imaginary Landscape

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

Royal Festival Hall, London (GB)
BBC Symphony Orchestra
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.