‘Birtwistle’s most impressive orchestral canvas to date ... Birtwistle comes across as an old master.’ FINANCIAL TIMES ON THE SHADOW OF NIGHT
Sir Harrison Birtwistle is one of Britain’s leading composers and has received many honours, including the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 1986 and a British knighthood in 1988. He was made a Companion of Honour in 2001 and is currently Director of Composition at the Royal Academy of Music in London.
Owen Slade is one of London’s most versatile tuba players: in addition to his many classical performances, including the premiere performance of Birtwistle’s The Cry of Anubis, he has worked with artists such as Blur, Barry Manilow and Quincy Jones.
Birtwistle is a composer associated with works of forceful and monolithic grandeur so some of you may be surprised by the otherworldly and subtle sound-world of the orchestral works on this new recording.
The Shadow of Night is a slow nocturne, exploring the world of melancholy, inspired by the composer’s life-long fascination with Dürer’s engraving Melencolia I and Night’s Black Bird (commissioned by the Roche Foundation) continues the with the same reflective musical imagery. The Cry of Anubis, part tuba concerto, part tone poem, grew out of Birtwistle’s fascination with Anubis, the jackal-headed god of the necropolis in Egyptian mythology who played an important part in Birtwistle’s surreal recent opera The Second Mrs Kong (1993-94).
This is The Hallé’s first recording for NMC.
This collection of works by Harrison Birtwistle span a period of ten years (1994-2004). All are premiere recordings.