Harrison Birtwistle - The Fields of Sorrow • Verses for Ensembles • Nenia: The Death of Orpheus

Jane Manning, soprano
London Sinfonietta, David Atherton, conductor
The Matrix, Alan Hacker, director

Label: Lyrita
Copyright: 2008 Lyrita Recorded Edition, England
Catalogue number: SRCD.306
UPC/EAN: 5020926030627
Format: CD
Analogue / Digital recording: ADD
Number of discs: 1
Total playing time: 55.59
Price: £ 14.99 (+ postage & packing)

Recorded at Kingsway Hall, 2nd Jan & 29th May 1973

The three works presented on this disc date from a significant period of transition in the music of Sir Harrison Birtwistle. Appropriately, for a composer with such an instinctive sense of theatre, this transformation came about in relation to two contrasting operas. Verses for Ensembles, of 1969, was one of the last of an iconoclastic series of works, including the vocal-instrumental Ring a Dumb Carillon (1965) and Tragoedia, for ensemble (1965), all notable for their forceful and hardedged dynamism, related to the aggressive and violent one-act opera Punch and Judy (1967). In contrast, the other two works on this release, Nenia: The Death of Orpheus (1970) and The Fields of Sorrow (1972) are markedly mellow in mood, being satellite pieces of his next large-scale work for the theatre ...

1 The Fields of Sorrow (1972) Harrison Birtwistle (b. 1934) 9.58
for 2 sopranos, chorus and 16 players
2 Verses for Ensembles (1969) Harrison Birtwistle (b. 1934) 28.13
for 5 woodwind, 5 brass and 3 percussion
3 Nenia: The Death of Orpheus (1970) Harrison Birtwistle (b. 1934) 17.45
(Text by Peter Zinovieff)
a ‘dramatic scene’ for soprano, 3 bass clarinets, clarinet, piano, prepared piano and crotales