Discover Harrison Birtwistle's soundworld
Following Birtwistle's the UK premiere of Moth Requiem at the BBC Proms, a look at how the composer creates his signature sounds.
The work, scored for women’s voices, alto flute and three harps is described as ‘a dream-like incantation of the names of the dustier cousins of the sun-loving butterfly’. The text of Birtwistle’s piece is a poem by Robin Blaser, who previously worked with the composer on his opera The Last Supper. Blaser was inspired by the eerie nighttime sounds of a moth caught under the lid of a piano in his home; the insect touching the strings in its efforts to escape. The Moth Requiem was performed alongside works by Gustav Holst.
Listen to Birtwistle speaking at an ROH Insights session about why he chooses to score for a diverse range of instrumentation, and the concepts behind The Minotaur:
Watch The Minotaur‘s Sitzprobe rehearsal, including a closer look at the workings of the orchestra which boasts an ‘armada of percussion’:
Let us know what you think of Birtwistle’s work, and whether you are captivated (or not) by his unique soundworld.
The Minotaur is available on DVD from the ROH Shop.