Sir Harrison Birtwistle: Précis

Sir Harrison Birtwistle Précis

Sir Harrison Birtwistle: Précis

Year of composition:
Scored for:
for piano
Sir Harrison Birtwistle
For John Ogdon
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Work introduction

Harrison Birtwistle - Precis

Written in 1959, this was among Birtwistle's earliest acknowledged works, and its medium, the solo piano, is one to which he has never returned. If this suggests that it is not entirely characteristic, it still contains some distinctive features despite the evident pressure of influences on a young composer in the late fifties, principally those of Maxwell Davies and Stockhausen. What belongs most particularly to Birtwistle is the dramatic use of repetition. The work is divided into five short fragments, of which the first is followed by a short “refrain” played fortissimo, while the last is preceded by the same tiny idea, this time entering pianissimo. Less immediately obvious is the fact that the fifth fragment is essentially a retrograde of the first.

Paul Griffiths, 1981

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World première

Dartington Hall, Dartington (GB)
Main soloists:
John Ogdon, pno

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