updated 19 April 2022
© Richard Kalina

Sir Harrison Birtwistle

British composer born 15 July 1934 in Accrington, Lancashire, died 18 April 2022 in Mere, Wiltshire.

Harrison Birtwistle was born in 1934 in Accrington, an industrial city in the North of England. He began playing clarinet with the local marching band. His early experiences with the instrument can be felt in the strong presence of wind instruments in his work and was likely the inspiration for pieces for brass band such as Grimethorpe Aria (1973) or Salford Toccata (1989).

Birtwistle entered the Royal College of Music of Manchester on a clarinet scholarship in 1952, where he studied composition with Richard Hall. He then attended the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he studied clarinet with Reginald Kell. He went on to play the clarinet with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic for a brief time. In 1953, he founded the New Music Manchester Group with fellow students Peter Maxwell Davies, Alexander Goehr, pianist John Ogdon, and trumpet player Elgar Howarth.

His first known composition dates from 1957, Refrains and Choruses for wind quintet. In 1959, it was selected by the Society for the Promotion of New Music to be performed at the Cheltenham festival. Supposedly, upon hearing the news, he sold his clarinets to devote himself entirely to composition.

From 1962-1965, Birtwistle taught music at Cranborne Chase School in Dorset (1962-1965), where, along with Goehr and Maxwell Davies, he created a summer music school, with Michael Tippett as president. His Tragœdia for ensemble premiered there in 1965. The piece is emblematic of the composer’s fascination with ancient Greek tragedy, in particular with the formal structures and ritual cycles of Greek odes. The piece laid the groundwork for his first opera, Punch and Judy (1966-1967), composed in the United States while on a Harkness Fellowship at Princeton University, which he won in 1966. In it, Birtwistle distanced himself from operatic tradition, creating a work steeped in non-narrative temporality. It premiered in 1968 at the Aldeburgh Festival.

Upon returning to England, along with Peter Maxwell Davies, Stephen Pruslin – who wrote the libretto for Punch and Judy – and clarinettist Alan Hacker, he founded The Pierrot Players with whom he premiered Monodrama (1967), where, in the style of Greek tragedy, a single actor plays several roles. Birtwistle broadened the horizons of musical theatre to instrumental works as well, in which the instruments themselves become characters: Verses for Ensembles (1968-1969), For O, for O, the Hobby-Horse is Forgot (for percussions, based on Hamlet, 1976). In later works, such as Secret Theatre for ensemble (1984) and Verses for Ensembles, one can observe the maturation of his spirited and dramatic compositional style, as well as the influence of a few predecessors: the formal considerations of Stravinsky, the extreme sonorities of Varèse, and the ritual structures of Messiaen.

In addition to Greek tragedy, Birtwistle was fascinated by medieval music, particularly that of Guillaume de Machaut, whose compositions he adapted on several occasions – for example, Machaut à ma manière for orchestra (1988). Medieval myth, pastorals, and folklore are tangible throughout his work, for example in pieces such as Down by the Greenwood Side (1968-1969), Yan Tan Tethera (1984), The Triumph of Time (1971-1972), based on an engraving of the same name by Brueghel the Elder, Silbury Air (1977), or The Mask of Orpheus (1983-1986). Preliminary work on the latter opera began in the United States when he was a guest professor at Swarthmore College, in Pennsylvania (1973-1974) and then, on invitation from Feldman, at the State University of New York, Buffalo (1975-1976).

Returning once again to England, Birtwistle was appointed music director and then associate director of the National Theater of London (1975 – 1982), where he produced music for numerous performances, perhaps most notably Peter Hall’s production of Oresteia (1981), declaimed by choirs in the Greek style. Birtwistle focused tightly on scansion and pulse for this, right down to the titles: Pulse Field (1977), Carmen Arcadiae Mechanicae Perpetuum (1977), Pulse Sampler (1981), Pulse Shadows (1989-1996).

The Mask of Orpheusmarks the zenith of Birtwistle’s career. This work, which fuses music, drama, mythology, mime, and electronics, received the Evening Standard Opera Award in 1986 and the Grawemeyer Award in 1987. Birtwistle was knighted in 1988 and received the Siemens Music Prize in 1995. From 1994 to 2001, he taught composition at King’s College, London. During this period he was also director of contemporary music at the Royal Academy of Music and a composer-in-residence for the London Philharmonic Orchestra. This was also a prolific time for him creatively; during these years he composedGawain(1990-1991),The Second Mrs Kong(1993-1994), and*The Last Supper* (1998-1999).

His most notable orchestral works include Endless Parade (1986-1987) and Nine Settings of Celan (1989-1996), as well as Nine Movements for String Quartet (1991-1996), two cycles he then brought together under the title Pulse Shadows - the Teldec recording of which won a Gramophone Classical Music Award in 2002 – The Minotaur (2005-2007), and the cycle Bogenstrich (2006-2009). Two new theatre pieces were premiered at the Southbank Centre for the Aldeburgh Festival and at the Bregenz Festspiele in 2009: The Corridor (2008) and Semper Dowland, semper dolens (2009).

Even in his eighties, Birtwistle continues to compose, producing several commissions including his Concerto pour violon for Christian Tetzlaff and the Boston Symphony Orchestra in March 2011; The Cure, for two vocalists and ensemble for the London Sinfonietta, which premiered it in 2014; and Deep Time for the Staatskapelle Berlin, whose premiere was conducted by Daniel Barenboim in 2016.

© Ircam-Centre Pompidou, 2017


  • Éditions Boosey & Hawkes
  • Jonathan CROSS, « Harrisson Birtwistle », Grove Music Online, Oxford University Press 2007-2009.

By Arnold Whittall

Harrison Birtwistle is a leading member of the generation of British composers born in the 1930s - also including Alexander Goehr, Peter Maxwell Davies and Jonathan Harvey - who have collectively created a distinctively British brand of musical modernism. Their studies and experiences in the 1950s encouraged these composers to look beyond such prominent but relatively conservative local models as Ralph Vaughan Williams and Benjamin Britten and to learn not only from the great pioneers of European and American modernism – Schoenberg, Webern, Stravinsky, Ives, Varèse – but also from their younger successors: Messiaen, Nono, Xenakis, Boulez, Stockhausen.

Birtwistle is best seen as a ‘post-tonal’ rather than ‘atonal’ composer: while he avoids the diatonic chords and functional key relations of common-practice tonality, his compositional materials often involve degrees of hierarchy, with harmonic elements centring on a single fundamental pitch or interval. He also makes considerable use of both smaller- and larger-scale repetitions within stratified structures that often reflect the juxtaposed contrasts of models like Stravinsky’s Symphonies of Wind Instruments or Messiaen’s Oiseaux exotiques.

Birtwistle became a strong force on the contemporary music scene in Britain with his first opera Punch and Judy (1968): this established an idiom that has evolved but not changed fundamentally since then. The predominant tone is forceful, abrasive, but is offset by a concentrated lyricism often tending to the melancholic in manner, and this – especially when his subject-matter is rooted in English folklore - brings an unsentimental pastoral aura to his music. Even more specifically English associations, especially with lute-song composer John Dowland (c.1563-1626), have emerged since the 1990s: the related orchestral compositions The Shadow of Night (2001) and Night’s Black Bird (2004) make only very brief reference to Dowland’s music, but Semper Dowland, semper dolens (2009) is an arrangement of the seven Lacrimae pavans for flutes, clarinets and string quintet in alternation with seven of Dowland’s vocal laments for tenor, the original lute accompaniments arranged for the modern harp. Birtwistle has made other arrangements over the years, of Machaut, Ockeghem and Bach. Those of Dowland are by far his most extensive, but it should be noted that Semper Dowland, semper dolens is intended to precede the performance of The Corridor, a 45-minute scena to a text by David Harsent that reverts to an archetypal Birtwistle theme. Without any obvious reference to Dowland, it explores Orpheus’s devastating loss of Eurydice as the conclusion to an event the composer describes as a ‘theatre of melancholy’.

Birtwistle’s idiom might have grown rather less brittle and aggressive since the 1980s, but it has shown little concern with such diversions from the modernist path as have become prominent since the 1960s: for example, his frequent use of rhythmic ostinatos is very different from that found in minimalist composers. On the other hand, there are important associations between Birtwistle’s music and three of the factors which have helped to reshape modernism itself – indeterminacy, electro-acoustics and spectralism. In certain compositions, for example 26 Orpheus Elegies for oboe, harp and countertenor (2004), the performers can choose a different order of movements from that published, or a selection from the total: and in some cases, as with String Quartet: The Tree of Strings (2008), exact coordination between the players is not fixed throughout. Purely electro-acoustic composition has had relatively limited appeal for Birtwistle: there are a few early pieces involving pre-recorded tape, like Four Interludes for a Tragedy (1968) and Medusa (1969), but only one composition for tape alone, Chronometer (1971-2). For the important electronic materials used in The Mask of Orpheus (1973-5, 1981-3) Birtwistle provided rhythmic outlines which were electro-acoustically elaborated by Barry Anderson – with Birtwistle himself on hand - at IRCAM. Finally, the kind of dense, widely-spaced chordal sonorities long favoured by Birtwistle have things in common with the rooted yet far from traditionally triadic harmonic elements found in spectral music by Grisey, Murail or Harvey. However, Birtwistle is more likely to have come to such elements through the interest in Varèse and Messiaen he shares with spectralist composers, rather than from any direct response to the work of the spectralists themselves.

As early as Punch and Judy, and the ‘dramatic pastoral’ Down by the Greenwood Side (1968-9), the spirit of broad, farcical comedy had found its true home in the kind of confrontations between expressionistic forcefulness and lyric reflectiveness that Birtwistle has made his own, as something quite distinct from comparable characteristics in the music of his closest British contemporary, Peter Maxwell Davies (also born in 1934). If Davies’s primary source was Schoenberg, Birtwistle’s was Stravinsky, and it seems to have been in response to Stravinsky’s ballet Agon (1953-7), perhaps in association with such major Stravinskian scores as Oedipus Rex and Orpheus, that he began to develop the interest in Greek and Latin texts and dramatic literary forms that have remained central to his work since the 1960s. The quality of stylised ritual and the possibility of balancing concentrated lyrical writing against more forcefully rhythmic materials in the context of highly sectionalised forms have always been profoundly important to Birtwistle, whether his sources are English (Gawain) or Greek (The Minotaur). Mythic themes with deep roots in ancient theatrical traditions have far greater appeal for him than more naturalistic, realistic subject-matter.

The Mask of Orpheus, designated a ‘lyric tragedy’, is probably Birtwistle’s most radical and challenging large-scale work, with Peter Zinovieff’s allusive and intricately-wrought treatment of the Orpheus legend inspiring music of formidable textural density that also carries a well-nigh hypnotic expressive power.The Mask of Orpheusends with a long, slow dissolution that conveys a deep sense of tragic inevitability, together with a feeling of fulfilment that registers despite the work’s avoidance of conventional operatic characterisation. Its long gestation (begun in 1973, first performed in 1986) meant that several satellite works emerged in advance - for instance, the three vocal compositions Nenia: the Death of Orpheus (1970), The Fields of Sorrow (1971) and … agm … (1978-9). But no less important in terms of the overall design of Birtwistle’s operas, and of his longer-term development, have been the orchestral works that might treat instrumental groups as dramatic characters (as in Verses for Ensembles, 1968-9), or devise the kind of processional rituals that can be thought of as modernist equivalents to symphonic funeral marches; major contributions to this genre extend from The Triumph of Time (1971-2) to the monumental Exody ’23:59:59’ (1996-7) and the Dowland-hauntedThe Shadow of Night. These works contrast significantly with the less reflective, powerfully dynamic Earth Dances (1985-6), often seen as Birtwistle’s ‘answer’ to The Rite of Spring, and a composition that might be pastoral in concept but is radically different from earlier twentieth-century English pastoral works like Vaughan Williams’sThe Lark Ascending, Holst’sEgdon Heath or Tippett’s Concerto for Double String Orchestra.

The particular dramatic deployment of a virtuoso chamber orchestra found in Verses for Ensembles bore fruit in a sequence of other chamber-orchestral scores, including Silbury Air and Carmen Arcadiae Mechanicae Perpetuum (both 1977), Secret Theatre (1984) and Theseus Game (2002). In Secret Theatre a sustained dialogue between melody and harmony (often described as ‘cantus’ and ‘continuum’) is given new clarity by the platform choreography, as players move between solo and supporting roles. In Theseus Game, for two ensembles with two conductors, some features which have clear associations with the later opera The Minotaur, in which Theseus is a leading character, are to be found. Just as Theseus would not have been able to escape from the labyrinth after killing the Minotaur if Ariadne had not provided him with a thread, so in Theseus Game there is a thread of continuous melody divided between a succession of instruments which temporarily stand apart from the block materials of the ensembles (and the conductors’ tempos). If the monolithic music for the ensembles represents the claustrophobic horror of the labyrinth, the melodic thread provides the means of escape, of progress through the labyrinth to the open air. Here, at least, the musical spirit is not unremittingly melancholic.

Birtwistle spent eight years (1975-83) as music director of London’s National Theatre, and his friendship with Peter Hall, the most influential figure in British theatre at that time, was of great importance, both practically and philosophically: Hall’s connections with Covent Garden and Glyndebourne helped to promote Birtwistle’s prospects as an opera composer, while Hall’s devotion to the ideals of myth-centred classical theatre ensured Birtwistle’s close involvement in productions of The Oresteia (1981) and The Bacchae (2002), as well as several other plays and special projects like the music-theatre work Bow Down (1977).

Though it was only with The Minotaur (2005-7) that Birtwistle followed up The Mask of Orpheus with a less oblique treatment of a classical myth, all his operas and theatre pieces between Orpheus and The Minotaur - Yan Tan Tethera (1983-4), Gawain (1989-91, revised 1994), The Second Mrs Kong (1993-4), The Last Supper (1998-9), The Io Passion (2003) – dealt with mythic archetypes in ways that showed the imposing variety and richness with which Birtwistle could respond to well-crafted librettos: he has never attempted to devise his own texts. Despite the fact that these major dramatic works have not been frequently revived, they provide the principal source of Birtwistle’s well-earned pre-eminence in British musical culture since 1980. With their predominantly dense orchestral fabric and vocal writing that ranges from terse declamation to florid incantation, Birtwistle’s operas are far more intensely expressionistic than those of his most important British precursors in the genre, Britten and Tippett; yet they impress through the sustained conviction of their musical dramaturgy, bringing genuinely new life to the kind of subject-matter that has often been treated operatically in the past.

In his later years Birtwistle has also shown consistent commitment to the established genres of concert music, confirming their relevance to the contemporary world of expressionistic modernism. The succession of works for solo instrument and orchestra, beginning with Melencolia I for clarinet, harp and two string orchestras (1976), has continued with pieces involving trumpet (Endless Parade, 1986-7), piano (Antiphonies, 1992), tuba (The Cry of Anubis, 1994), saxophone (Panic, 1995) and violin - the Concerto for violin and orchestra (2011). The conventional title of this last composition acknowledges the solo part’s particularly close associations with the genre’s virtuosic history, but there is no dilution of the expressive immediacy that makes titles like Melencolia I and Panic so programmatically apt. Meanwhile, of Birtwistle’s various cycles of separate but interlinked pieces - collections as diverse as the five Harrison’s Clocks for piano (1997-8) and the 26 Orpheus Elegies - Pulse Shadows, Meditations on Paul Celan for soprano, string quartet and ensemble (1991-5) stands out for the culmulative impact its succession of eighteen relatively short movements can create when performed complete. What in the published score alternates nine movements for string quartet (four called ‘Frieze’, five called ‘Fantasia’) with nine Celan settings (using Paul Hamburger’s English translations) for soprano and ensemble (two clarinets, viola, cello and double bass) stems from a single short Celan setting (‘White and Light’, 1989) and an equally brief quartet movement – now called ‘Frieze 1’ - written as a birthday tribute to the Viennese music publisher Alfred Schlee in 1991. But once the possibility emerged of bringing these disparate entities into conjunction, a force field was established whose labyrinthine potential appealed greatly to Birtwistle, perhaps because one line from the Celan poem – ‘lass es wandern’: ‘let it drift’ – encapsulates one of his music’s most basic qualities; drifting as something that is far from aimless yet engages the image of ‘stasis in progress’ (the words of Günther Grass on Dürer’s Melencolia I, a particular inspiration for Birtwistle’s composition of that name).

All eighteen movements of Pulse Shadows share processes which move in and out of focus on particular pitch centres or shapes, and use repetitions of short patterns - ostinatos – as form-building strategies whose exact or varied repetitions, of pitches as well as pulses, literally shadow each other. The one point where Celan merges with string-quartet genres is in ‘Frieze 4’, which is given the title of Celan’s most explicitly death-camp-haunted poem, ‘Todesfuge’. Here Birtwistle creates a very personal kind of fugal form, saluting (and shadowing) Beethoven’s ’Grosse Fuge’ in much the same spirit as the quartet movements he calls ‘Fantasias’ salute the tradition of English string music from the renaissance and baroque periods (a link that would become more prominent still in his Dowland-related works).

Pulse Shadows sets up other associations – with the ‘speech-song’ style of Schoenberg’s Pierrot lunaire and the interleaved vocal and instrumental cycles of Boulez’s Le Marteau sans maître - but it remains triumphantly, idiosyncratically personal to Birtwistle: deeply implicated in the culture of his own post-war, post-holocaust time and yet decisively detached from the more exploitative artistic manifestations of that phenomenon. It is these qualities which have done most to make Birtwistle such an enduringly formidable presence on the contemporary scene. Music that is at once so intensely personal and so profoundly resonant of fundamental social and psychological circumstances is rare at any time, and to be valued all the more in our own.

Michael Hall, Jonathan Cross, Harrison Birtwistle, Arnold Whittall, David Beard (voir ressources documentaires).

© Ircam-Centre Pompidou, 2012


  • Robert ADLINGTON, The music of Harrison Birtwistle, Cambridge University Press, 1999 [réedition 2006].
  • Robert ADLINGTON, « Harrison Birtwistle’s Recent Music », Tempo, n° 196, 1996, p. 2–8.
  • Harrison BIRTWISTLE, entretien avec Ross Lorraine : « Territorial Rites 1 », The Musical Times, vol. 138, octobre 1997, p. 4-8; « Territorial Rites 2 », The Musical Times, vol. 138, novembre 1997, p. 12-16.
  • David BEARD, *Harrison Birtwistle’s Operas and Music Theatre,*Cambridge, 2012.
  • David BRUCE, « Challenging the System », The Musical Times, vol. 138, avril 1996, p. 11–16 [sur Panic].
  • Michael CHANAN, « Birtwistle’s Down by the Greenwood Side », Tempo, n° 89, 1969, P. 19-21.
  • Jonathan CROSS, Harrison Birtwistle, The Mask of Orpheus, Ashgate, 2009.
  • Jonathan CROSS, Harrison Birtwistle: Man, Myth, Music, Faber and Faber, Londres, 2000.
  • Jonathan CROSS, Birtwistle’s Secret Theatres, Analytical Strategies and Musical Interpretation: Essays on Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Music, ed. C. Ayrey and M. Everist, Cambridge, 1996, P. 207-225.
  • Jonathan CROSS, « Lines and Circles: on Birtwistle’s Punch and Judy and Secret Theatre », Music Analysis, n°13, 1994, p. 203-225.
  • Jonathan CROSS, « The Challenge of Modern Music: Birtwistle’s Refrains and Choruses», Theory, Analysis and Meaning in Music, ed. A. Pople, Cambridge, 1994, 184-194.
  • Jonathan CROSS, « The Action Never Stops, it Only Changes», The Musical Times, vol. 135, 1994, p. 698-703 [sur The Second Mrs Kong].
  • Gordon CROSSE, « Birtwistle’s Punch and Judy», Tempo, n° 85, 1968, p. 24-6.
  • Andrew FORD, « The Reticence of Intuition – Sir Harrison Birtwistle », Composer to Composer: Conversations about Contemporary Music, Londres, 1993, p. 52-59.
  • Paul GRIFFITHS, « Harrison Birtwistle », New Sounds, New Personalities: British Composers of the 1980s, Londres, 1985, p. 186-194.
  • Michael HALL, Harrison Birtwistle in Recent Years, Londres, 1998.
  • Michael HALL, Harrison Birtwistle, ed. Robson Books, coll. « The contemporary composers », Londres, 1984.
  • Robert HENDERSON, « Harrison Birtwistle », The Musical Times, vol. 105, n° 1453, mars 1964, p. 188-189.
  • Michael NYMAN, « Two New Works by Birtwistle », Tempo, n° 88, 1969, P. 47-50.
  • Stephen PETTITT, « Birtwistle’s Secret Theatres », Opera, vol. 47, 1996, p. 366-369.
  • Rhian SAMUEL, « Time Remembered: Birtwistle’s The Second Mrs Kong », Opera, n° 45, 1994, p. 1153-1158.
  • Roger SMALLEY, « Birtwistle’s Nomos», Tempo, n° 86, 1968, 7-10.
  • Roger SMALLEY, « Birtwistle’s Chorales », Tempo, n° 80, 1967, 25-27.
  • Arnold WHITTALL, « Dendritic designs: Harrison Birtwistle’s String quartet: The tree of strings», The Musical Times,* *automne 2011, p. 3-17.
  • Arnold WHITTALL, « The Mechanisms of Lament: Harrison Birtwistle’s Pulse Shadows », ML, vol. 29, 1999, p. 102.
  • Arnold WHITTALL, « Modernist Aesthetics, Modernist Music: Some Analytical Perspectives », Music Theory in Concept and Practice, ed. J.M. Baker, D.W. Beach et J.W. Bernard, Rochester NY, 1997.
  • Arnold WHITTALL, « Comparatively Complex: Birtwistle, Maxwell Davies and Modernist Analysis », Music Analysis, n° 13, 1994, p. 139-159.
  • Arnold WHITTALL, « The Geometry of Comedy », The Musical Times, vol. 134, 1993, p. 17-19.
  • David WRIGHT, « Clicks, Clocks and Claques: the Achievement of Harrison Birtwistle at 60’ », The Musical Times, vol. 135, 1994, p. 426-431.

Discographie, filmographie

  • Harrison BIRTWISTLE, Angel Fighter ; In Broken Images ; Virelai, Andrew Watts, Jeffrey Lloyd-Roberts, BBC Singers, London Sinfonietta, David Atherton, direction,1 cd NMC, 2015, D211.
  • Harrison BIRTWISTLE, Nenia: The Death of Orpheus ; Orpheus Elegies ; Fantasia III ; Nine Settings for Lorine Niedecker ; Frieze I ; Songs by Myself ; Cantus Lambeus, Alice Ross ; Da Neue Ensemble ; Kuss Quartet ; Solistes de la Hochschule für Musik ; Theater und Medien Hannover ; Stefan Asbury, direction, dand « Songs 1970-2006 », 1 cd Toccata Classics, 2015, TOCC0281.
  • Harrison BIRTWISTLE, The Moth Requiem, Roderick Williams ; Nash Ensemble ; BBC Singers ;  Nicholas Kok, direction, 1 cd Signum Classics, 2014, SIGCD368.
  • Harrison BIRTWISTLE,  Three Settings Of Lorine Niedecker ; Bogenstrich – Meditations On A Poem Of Rilke ; Nine Settings Of Lorine Niedecker, Lisa Batiashvili ; Adrian Brendel ;  Till Fellner ; Amy Freston ; Roderick Williams ; dans « Chamber Music », 1 cd ECM Records, 2014, 2253.
  • Harrison BIRTWISTLE, The Triumph of Time ; Earth Dances ; Panic, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Modern Orchestra, Pierre Boulez, direction, 1 cd Decca, 2012, 4784249.
  • Harrison BIRTWISTLE, « Complete String Quartets », Quatuor Arditti, 1 cd æon, 2012,  AECD 1217.
  • Harrison BIRTWISTLE, The Minotaur, Stephen Langridge : mise en scène, Antonio Pappano : direction, avec John Tomilnson, Johan Reuter, Christine Rice, Andrew Watts, chœur et orchestre du Royal Opera, 2 dvds Opus Arte, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden Londres, 2008.
  • Harrison BIRTWISTLE, Nenia: The Death of Orpheus ; The Fields of Sorrow ; Verses for Ensembles, Jane Manning, The Matrix, direction : Alan Hacker, London Sinfonietta, direction : David Atherton, 1 cd Lyrita, 2008.
  • Harrison BIRTWISTLE, Secret Theatre ; Silbury Air ; Carment Arcadiae Mechanicae Perpetuum, London Sinfonietta, direction : Elgar Howarth, 1 cd NMC Recordings, 2008.
  • Harrison BIRTWISTLE, Punch & Judy, de Phyllis Bryn-Julson : soprano, Jan DeGaetani : mezzo-soprano, Philip Langridge : ténor, Stephen Roberts : baryton, David Wilson-Johnson : baryton-basse, John Tomlinson : basse, London Sinfonietta, direction : David Ath, 2 cds NMC Recordings, 2007.
  • Harrison BIRTWISTLE, The Mask of Orpheus, Marie Angel, Juliet Booth : sopranos, Elisabeth Mccormack, Anne-Marie Owens : mezzo-sopranos, Stephen Allen, Peter Bronder : ténors, orchestre symphonique de la BBC, direction : Andrew Davis, 2 cds Nmc, 2006.
  • Harrison BIRTWISTLE, The Axe Manual, complete piano works, comprenant : The Axe Manual ; Oockooing Bird ; Sad Song ; Berceuse de Jeanne ; Précis ; Hector’s Dawn ; Ostinato with Melody ; Betty Freeman: Her Tango ; Saraband: The Kings Farewell ; Harrison’s Clocks, Nicolas Hodges : piano, Claire Edwardes : percussion, 1 cd Metronome, WDR 3, 2005.
  • Harrison BIRTWISTLE, I. Trageodia ; II. Five distances for five Instruments ; III. Three Settings Of Celan ; IV. Endless Parade ; V. Panic ; VI. Earth Dances, Ensemble intercontemporain, direction : Pierre Boulez (I-IV), Christine Whittlesey : soprano (III),  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, direction : Elgar Howarth (V),  The Cleveland Orchestra, direction : Christoph Von Dohnanyi (VII), Andrew Davis (VI), avec Paul Patrick, Hakan Hardenberger (V), John Harle, Paul Clarvis (VI), 2 Cd Decca, coll. « The British Music Collection », 2004.
  • Harrison BIRTWISTLE, The Triumph of Time ; Ritual fragment ; Gawain’s Journey, orchestre philharmonique de Londres, direction : Elgar Howarth, 1 cd NMC, 2004.
  • Harrison BIRTWISTLE, Refrains and Choruses, comprenant Hoquetus Petrus ; Refrains and Choruses ; Hector’s Dawn ; Duets for Storab ; Linoi ; Berceuse de Jeanne ; Verses for Ensembles ; Chorale from a Toy-Shop ; Sad Song ; An Interrupted Endless Melody ; Oockooing Bird ; Five Distances for 5 instruments, Robert Manasse, Mark Law, The Galliard Ensemble, Richard Shaw, 1 cd Deux-Elles, 2002.
  • Harrison BIRTWISTLE, Melencolia I ; Ritual Fragment ; Meridian ; London Sinfonietta, direction : Oliver Knussen, Antony Pay, Helen Tunstall, Christopher van Kampen, London Sinfonietta Voices, Michael Thompson, Mary King, 1 cd NMC, 2000.
  • Harrison BIRTWISTLE, Music for wind & percussion, comprenant Verses for Ensembles ; Refrains and Choruses ; For O, for O, the Hobby-horse Is Forgot, groupe de percussions The Hague, Netherlands Wind Ensemble, direction : James Wood, 1 cd Etcetera, 1995.
  • Harrison BIRTWISTLE, Secret Theatre ; Silbury Air ; Carmen Arcadiae Mechanicae Perpetuum, London Sinfonietta, direction : Elgar Howarth, 1 cd Etcetera, 1994.

Liens Internet

(liens vérifiés en avril 2022).