This collection of essays celebrates the work of Sir Harrison Birtwistle, one of the key figures in European contemporary music. Representing current research on Birtwistle's music, this book reflects the diversity of his work in terms of periods, genres, forms, techniques and related issues through a wide-range of critical, theoretical and analytical interpretations and perspectives. Written by a team of international scholars, all of whom bring a deep research-based knowledge and insight to their chosen study, this collection extends the scholarly understanding of Birtwistle through new engagements with the man and the music. The contributors provide detailed studies of Birtwistle's engagement with electronic music in the 1960s and 1970s, and develop theoretical explanations of his fascination with pulse, rhythm and time. They also explore in detail Birtwistle's interest in poetry, instrumental drama, gesture, procession and landscape, and consider the compositional processes that underpin these issues.
• Presents detailed studies of Birtwistle's music and insights into the details of individual works • Individual chapters raise distinct methodological issues, which can be compared to other musical contexts • Provides direction for further study and scope for development
Preface David Beard, Kenneth Gloag and Nicholas Jones; 1. 'Let it drift': Birtwistle's late-modernist music dramas Arnold Whittall; 2. Mechanical song: Birtwistle's rhythmic imagination Philip Rupprecht; 3. Before the mask: Birtwistle's electronic music collaborations with Peter Zinovieff Tom Hall; 4. Birtwistle's 'eloquently gestural music' Kenneth Gloag; 5. 'The life of my music': what the sketches tell us David Beard; 6. The sound of Raasay: Birtwistle's Hebridean experience Nicholas Jones; 7. Birtwistle and the labyrinthine processional Edward Venn; 8. On taking a walk Aleksandra Vojčić; 9. Gigue machine and other gigs: Birtwistle in Europe and beyond Mark Delaere; 10. Of shadows and mirrors: reflections on Birtwistle in the new millennium Jonathan Cross; Appendix: a selected inventory of Birtwistle manuscripts acquired by the British Library in 2013 David Beard.