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Old 20-06-2004, 05:19   #1
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Sir Harrison Birtwistle

Anybody know Sir Harrison Birtwistle ?
Nice local name, bit of a puzzle, eh ?
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Last edited by Weary Tourist; 20-06-2004 at 05:19. Reason: Typo error
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Old 20-06-2004, 06:24   #2
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Re: Sir Harrison Birtwistle

As it happens, if you listen to Radio Three on Monday 21st June at 7.30pm. You will hear a broadcast from this year's Aldeburgh Festival. The subject of the broadcast is,

" One of the highlights of this year's Aldeburgh Festival: the new chamber music theatre piece by Harrison Birtwistle, who turns 70 next month. The Io Passion, for string quartet, clarinet,and six performers, to a text by Steven Plaice, combines Magritte type imagery, ritual and myth, and a powerful score exploring the darker side of sexual obsession. "
I am grateful to "Radio Times" for the above.

His work is performed throughout the world and Birtwistle has a position in the front rank of contemporary British music.
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Old 20-06-2004, 06:50   #3
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Re: Sir Harrison Birtwistle

Spot on Acrylic-bob.

What else do the peeps of Accrington Web know about this young man ?
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Old 20-06-2004, 07:17   #4
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Re: Sir Harrison Birtwistle

There is a portrait of Birtwistle by Tom Phillips here:

http://www.tomphillips.co.uk/portrait/hbir/

and here is a bit more detail:

Sir Harrison Birtwistle
Sir Harrison Birtwistle was born in Accrington in the north of England in 1934 and studied clarinet and composition at the Royal Manchester College of Music, making contact with a highly talented group of contemporaries including Peter Maxwell Davies, Alexander Goehr, John Ogdon and Elgar Howarth. In 1965 he sold his clarinets to devote all his efforts to composition, and travelled to Princeton as a Harkness Fellow where he completed the opera Punch and Judy. This work, together with Verses for Ensembles and The Triumph of Time, firmly established Birtwistle as a leading voice in British music.

The decade from 1973 to 1984 was dominated by his monumental lyric tragedy The Mask of Orpheus, staged by English National Opera in 1986, and by the series of remarkable ensemble scores now performed by the world's leading new music groups: Secret Theatre, Silbury Air and Carmen Arcadiae Mechanicae Perpetuum. Large-scale works in the following decade included the operas Gawain and The Second Mrs Kong, the concertos Endless Parade for trumpet and Antiphonies for piano, and the orchestral score Earth Dances.

Birtwistle's works of the past decade include Exody, premiered by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Daniel Barenboim, Panic scored for saxophone, drummer and orchestra which received a high profile premiere at the Last Night of the 1995 BBC Proms with an estimated worldwide audience of 100 million, and The Shadow of Night commissioned by the Cleveland Orchestra and Christoph von Dohnányi. Birtwistle's newest stagework, The Last Supper, received its first performances at the Deutsche Staatsoper in Berlin and at Glyndebourne in 2000. Pulse Shadows, an hour-long meditation for soprano, string quartet and chamber ensemble on poetry by Paul Celan, was released on disc by Teldec and won the 2002 Gramophone Award for best contemporary recording. Theseus Game, co-commissioned by RUHRtriennale, Ensemble Modern and the London Sinfonietta, was premiered in Autumn 2003. Future projects include Night's Black Bird commissioned for the Cleveland Orchestra by the Lucerne Festival and Carnegie Hall, and new stageworks for the Aldeburgh Festival/Almeida Opera and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden.

The music of Birtwistle has attracted international conductors including Pierre Boulez, Daniel Barenboim, Elgar Howarth, Christoph von Dohnányi, Oliver Knussen, Sir Simon Rattle, and Peter Eötvös. He has received commissions from leading performing organisations and his music has been featured in major festivals and concert series including the BBC Proms, Salzburg Festival, Glyndebourne, Holland Festival, Stockholm New Music, Wien Modern, Wittener Tage, the South Bank Centre in London and the Konzerthaus in Vienna.

Birtwistle has received many honours including the 1986 Grawemeyer Award, the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres in 1986, a British knighthood in 1988, the Siemens Prize in 1995, and a British Companion of Honour in 2001. He was Henry Purcell Professor of Music at King's College of Music in London (1995-2001) and is currently Director of Composition at the Royal College of Music in London. Recordings of Birtwistle's music are available on the Decca, Philips, Deutsche Grammophon, Teldec, Black Box, Etcetera, NMC, CPO and Soundcircus labels.

Birtwistle's 70th birthday is celebrated in 2004, including features at the Lucerne Festival and the South Bank Centre in London.
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Old 20-06-2004, 13:52   #5
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Re: Sir Harrison Birtwistle

Kudos to Acrylic-bob, who should go to the top of the class.

But how many others have heard of Sir Harrison Birtwistle and knew he came from Accrington ?
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Old 20-06-2004, 16:48   #6
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Re: Sir Harrison Birtwistle

Call me a palestine as Del Boy might say, but listening to some of Harrison Birtwistle's music is surely a form of masochism. To me it sounds like the cat-gut of which the violin strings are made is still attached to the cat.
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Old 20-06-2004, 18:09   #7
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Re: Sir Harrison Birtwistle

I studied some of Birtwistle's music at Uni. but I can't say that I cared for it much - then again I don't care for much 20th Century 'serious' music. My grandmother went to Sunday School with him though.
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Old 20-06-2004, 18:55   #8
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Re: Sir Harrison Birtwistle

I was invited by a friend to spend an evening at Covent Garden, where Birtwistle's Opera 'Gawain' was performed. To be honest it was the dreariest evening I think I have ever spent, I couldn't wait for it to be over. An evening of tortured screeching and moaning that left quite a number of the audience aghast and shellshocked.
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Old 20-06-2004, 20:47   #9
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Re: Sir Harrison Birtwistle

My wifes maiden name was birtwistle and was born in wiswell nr whalley I wonder if she is related
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Old 20-06-2004, 23:16   #10
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Re: Sir Harrison Birtwistle

This is all very interesting stuff. I know more about him now than I ever did. All I have been told is what I have read, and that was that he was born in Huncoat in 1934 and educated at St John's and the Grammar School. He was known as "a somewhat unruly boy" who has achieved international recognition as a music composer in the classical and operatic fields. He is supposed to owe it all to his Mum, who bought him a clarinet, paid for lessons and got him to join a local military band. He has been described as "the most famous unknown composer in the history of music"
He was knighted in 1988
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Old 19-07-2004, 20:23   #11
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Re: Sir Harrison Birtwistle

I think I am distantly related to him.
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Old 19-07-2004, 20:50   #12
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Re: Sir Harrison Birtwistle

Are you a Birt - willow
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Old 19-07-2004, 20:58   #13
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Re: Sir Harrison Birtwistle

No, but my mother had some Birtwells and Birtwistles in her ancestry somewhere. She was also connected to Ormerod Clegg of Huncoat (apologies for thread wandering) and Roger Nowell of Read.
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Old 19-07-2004, 21:02   #14
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Re: Sir Harrison Birtwistle

Not the Birtwistles of church and later Spring Hill by chance. Irena being the last one..
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Old 20-07-2004, 05:33   #15
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Re: Sir Harrison Birtwistle

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug
Not the Birtwistles of church and later Spring Hill by chance. Irena being the last one..
I use to go to school with Les and Trev Birtwistle. They originally came for Walmsley St. in Church and moved up Dill Hall, just of Riding Barn St. Photo of Les is in my piccy of St Andrews class of 1954/5 under User Photos site.

They were rough and tough, all the Birtwistles. Never actually came across Harrison, like others, I heard his screechings...and left!!
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