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Harrison Birtwistle - The Triumph of Time

Birtwistle: The Triumph of Time
Marshalling huge orchestral forces in a work lasting over half an hour, the Triumph of Time is a classic example of Birtwistle’s “processional” structures, presenting a sequence of disparate musical objects which, like parts of a landscape, are seen from constantly evolving perspectives during the course of the piece. Two instruments stand out from the constant, slow-moving flux: a brief fragment of melody for soprano saxophone occurs and re-occurs, while a more elaborate cor anglais solo floats free to remind us of Birtwistle’s lyrical gifts, all the more moving for never being over-indulged.

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3x Philharmonia; Howarth (Collins Classics 13872, with Gawain’s Journey).

Birtwistle’s old student colleague Elgar Howarth has been a doughty champion of his music, and here produces a performance of subtlety and power. Gawain’s Journey acts as a kind of precis of the opera from which it derives, with vocal parts reassigned to solo instruments.

SheetMusic by Birtwistle