This is Birtwistle at the Barbican

26 September 2017

The London Symphony Orchestra’s This is Rattle opening concert included Harrison Birtwistle’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, commissioned by the Boston Symphony Orchestra for violinist Christian Tetzlaff. A groundbreaking work, Rattle stated, that is destined to become part of the great canon of violin repertoire. Watch the interview on the concerto with Harrison Birtwistle here.

Harrison Birtwistle's Violin Concerto, with the German virtuoso Christian Tetzlaff in coruscating form, was to go back in spirit to the 19th century, in that - despite the unforgiving modernity of the idiom - soloist and orchestra (plus extra soloists emerging from the orchestra) converse passionately. - Michael Church, The Independent *****

It's an anguished piece of orchestral theatre, in which the soloist (the superb Christian Tetzlaff) is joined at the front by five orchestral members in turn. They briefly duet with him and then disappear, like lovers trying to comfort a lost soul. - Richard Morrison, The Times *****

The Birtwistle curated concert at Barbican Centre’s Milton Court then concluded a week’s worth of concerts welcoming Sir Simon Rattle back to London.

At the Barbican Centre’s invitation, the curated concert included seminal Birtwistle works such as Pulse Sampler and The Moth Requiem, performed by the Nash Ensemble and BBC Singers as well as pieces by William Byrd and Edgard Varèse, and a reworking of Guillaume de Machaut’s Messe de Nostre Dame. The concert was met with great acclaim and can be listened to on BBC iPlayer here.

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