Punch and Judy
London Sinfonietta/David Atherton
Birtwistle’s violently ritualistic first opera, delivered with brilliance.
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 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
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.