Harrison Birtwistle: the best recordings
With a catalogue of works that combine a modernist aesthetic with ancient mythology, Harrison Birtwistle is one of Britain's foremost contemporary composers. Here, we name some of the best recordings of his music
Punch and Judy
London Sinfonietta/David Atherton
Birtwistle’s violently ritualistic first opera, vividly delivered.
Melencolia 1, Ritual Fragment, Meridian
London Sinfonietta/Oliver Knussen
Exemplary readings of three contrasting representative scores.
The Mask of Orpheus
BBC Symphony Orchestra/Andrew Davis & Martyn Brabbins
NMC D050 (3 discs)
Superb realisation of Birtwistle’s most awesome work for the musical stage.
Lisa Batiashvili (violin), Adrian Brendel (cello0, Till Fellner (piano), Amy Freston (soprano), Roderick Williams (baritone)
'The performances are definitive, they certainly sound confident.'
Andrew Watts (countertenor), Jeffrey Lloyd-Roberts (tenor); BBC Singers; London Sinfonietta/David Atherton
Pungent pizzicato rhythms, visceral trumpets, groaning lower brass and winds shrilling overhead drive the three-way confrontation between taunting chorus, Jacob himself (a committed but occasionally strained Jeffrey Lloyd-Roberts) and the Angel (a charismatic Andrew Watts).
Melinda Maxwell, Helen Tunstall, Andrew Watts
Oboe Classics CC2020
Austere lyricism exquisitely played and sung.