Sir Harrison Birtwistle: Tragoedia

  • for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, harp and string quartet
  • Duration: 20’30”
  • Instrumentation details:
    flute
    oboe
    clarinet in Bb
    bassoon
    horn in F
    harp
    1st violin
    2nd violin
    viola
    violoncello
    claves (played by members of the wind quintet)
  • Composer: Sir Harrison Birtwistle
  • Dedication: Dedicated to Michael Tippett on his 60th birthday
  • Commission: Commissioned by the Melos Ensemble

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Work introduction

Tragoedia (the original meaning of which is “goat-song”) is abstract theatre. Although violence often dominates the music’s character, the mood in no way suggests tragedy. The ensemble seldom plays simultaneously; for the most part, groups of instruments or soloists are juxtaposed, creating highly original sonic colours. The horn, cello and harp are especially important – the horn quite savage, the cello more tender and fragile, with the harp among the other two. Tragoedia is a classic of modern chamber-music literature.

Audiosamples

The complete perusal score (PDF-preview)

World première

Location:
Wardour (GB)
Date:
20.08.1965
Orchestra:
Melos Ensemble
Conductor:
Lawrence Foster

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