After an introduction by Alfred Brendel at this year’s BBC Music Magazine Awards ceremony, Harrison Birtwistle accepted the Premiere Recording Award for NMC’s recording of three of his major compositions: ‘The Shadow of Night’, ‘Night’s Black Bird’ and ‘The Cry of Anubis’. As winner of this “Jury award”, Harrison Birtwistle was voted for by of five of the country’s leading classical music critics: Hilary Finch, Anthony Pryer, Erik Levi, Calum Macdonald and Andrew McGregor, as well as BBC Music Magazine editor Oliver Condy, consultant editor Helen Wallace and reviews editor Rebecca Franks. The Night’s Black Bird disc, which was awarded five stars by Andrew Clements in The Guardian, has already won the 2011 Gramophone Contemporary Award; it features the Halle Orchestra brilliantly conducted by Ryan Wigglesworth, with Owen Slade as soloist.
This success comes in the midst of a busy and successful season for Harisson Birtwistle. Gigue Machine for solo piano was premiered by Nicolas Hodges at the Eclat Festival, Stuttgart, in February, and will receive further performances in Spain, Israel and the US in the coming year. Fantasia Upon All The Notes, a commission for the Nash Ensemble, received its world premiere at Wigmore Hall in March, and in May, In Broken Images will be receive its UK premiere in a performance by the London Sinfonietta directed by David Atherton at the Queen Elizabeth Hall.
Watch Harrison Birtwistle accept the award after a touching tribute from Alfred Brendle here.
Listen to an excerpt of Night’s Black Bird here.