Harrison Birtwistle: The Moth Requiem

Fri, May 2, 2014, 00:00


Harrison Birtwistle The Moth Requiem

Roderick Williams, BBC Singers, Nash Ensemble, Nicholas Kok

Signum Classics


There’s something appealingly uncompromising in these choral works by Harrison Birtwistle. Even the idea of setting Robin Blaser’s A Literalist (prompted by the sounds of a moth trapped inside a piano) for voices, three harps and alto flute, appeals. But Birtwistle makes the music viscerally elegiac as well. His willingness to force himself and his performers into the beyond is pretty consistent, whether it’s keeping the sopranos of the BBC Singers on extended high-range duty, or providing a persistent, unsettling background on the darbuka (an Arab goblet drum) in The Ring Dance of the Nazarene, The repertoire covers nearly half a century of Birtwistle’s output, and the vision is consistently acute. url.ie/gb48