Harrison Birtwistle: The Best Recordings


Punch and Judy

London Sinfonietta/David Atherton

NMC D138

Birtwistle’s violently ritualistic first opera, delivered with brilliance.

Melencolia 1, ritual fragment, meridian

London Sinfonietta/Oliver Knussen

NMC D009

Exemplary readings of three contrasting representative scores.

The mask of Orpheus

BBC Symphony Orchestra/Andrew Davis & Martyn Brabbins

NMC D050 (3 discs)

Superb realization of Birtwistle’s most impressive work for the music scene.

Lisa Batiashvili (violin), Adrian Brendel (cello0, Till Fellner (piano), Amy Freston (soprano), Roderick Williams (baritone)

ECM 476 5050

“The performances are definitive, they certainly look confident.”

Andrew Watts (countertenor), Jeffrey Lloyd-Roberts (tenor); the BBC singers; London Sinfonietta/David Atherton

NMC D211

Spicy pizzicato rhythms, visceral trumpets, wailing low brass and shrill overhead winds drive the three-way showdown between the sly choir, Jacob himself (an engaged but sometimes tense Jeffrey Lloyd-Roberts) and the Angel (a charismatic Andrew Watts).

Elegies of Orpheus

Melinda Maxwell, Helen Tunstall, Andrew Watts

Classic Oboes CC2020

An austere lyricism deliciously played and sung.


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