Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Best Music 2

Harrison Birtwistle has written some pieces which make my best list. His music comes from the "school of whispy music", as I like to call it - very quiet, instruments making quiet rattles and scrapes or quick bursts of sound, voices going ooooh or aaaaah or singing phonetics. Birtwistle is part of the English trio which dominated the music scene in the 50s and 60s - Harrison Birtwistle, Alexander Goehr and Peter Maxwell-Davies.

Not all of Birtwitles music is whispy. Punch and Judy is one of my favorite pieces by Birwistle. Very pungent, aggresive and, well, a wonderful work! Also violent - he kills Judy several times over, tosses the baby into the fireplace. The story is held together using the Greek tragedy - chorus, search, ritual.

Of course there is the real Greek opera of Birtwistle, the
Mask of Orpheus.

This is a very nice piece as well - whispy, but very nice.


Blogger Robert A. Swipe said...

I used to know Harry quite well when he lived in Twickenham and he once said to me, "John, music is like knitting, son", evidently not realising that my name is Bob and I'm not his son. It was always a joy to behold him composing - long periods of total silence, the occasional scratching of the head and then a sudden explosion "burm-ta-bboom-ting!!" Then he'd scribble something eligible down on a piece of manuscript and dispense Adam, Silas or Toby off to the Chinese take away. Thirty minutes later they'd return with crispy duck, sweet and sour pork and a huge sheet of manuscript paper with egg foo yung all over it.

He was always a lot more conservative than you'd have thought, but I still don't quite get why he's so against drum and bass music...

7:02 AM  

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