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Tootling in Accrington

A sound picture of Birtwistle on CD -
considered by

'... a stimulating introduction to Sir Harrison's tonal explorations.'

Harrison Birtwistle: Refrains and Choruses. (p) 2001 Deux-Elles Ltd


There is no occasion for panic when considering this disc of Birtwistle 'chamber music'. In the first place, he is not a pianist, so the four keyboard pieces are not interested in the possibilities of the instrument and have the pleasing Satiesque quality of going nowhere in particular. Start with them. The Sad Song, sensitively played by Richard Shaw, who nicely judges the balance of the subtle sonorities, was written for Birtwistle's eldest son Adam, and makes a touching little tribute to a firstborn [listen -- track 14, 0:02-0:59]. If it is the same Adam who painted the portrait of Sir Harrison that glowers from front and back of the disc, one may admire the striking juxtaposition of wildly tousled hair and high-necked scarlet jacket, but indeed the features might suggest panic to even the composer's closest friends.

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Copyright © 20 February 2002 Robert Anderson, London, UK






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