Birtwistle's 'Donum Simoni MMXVIII' performed by Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra at the BBC Proms

20 September 2022

The London Symphony Orchestra with Sir Simon Rattle at the helm paid tribute to Sir Harrison Birtwistle at their appearance at this year's BBC Proms.

The inclusion of Donum Simoni MMXVIII was a late addition to the programme to honour the close relationship between Birtwistle and longtime colleague Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra, for whom the piece was written as a musical gift in 2018 to open the LSO's 2018-2019 season, Sir Simon's first full season with the orchestra.

The piece opened the Prom before a performance of Mahler's Second Symphony, with reviewers calling the Birtwistle fanfare "crunchy but entertaining" (The Times) with "trademark Birtwistle features, heft rasps from trombones, shrill calls from the woodwind and strident percussion effects", a "laconic upbeat" (The Guardian) and "cartoonish tapestry of quirkily coloured sound" (Arts Desk), and an "effective opener, full of brusque brass, frenetic drumming and shouty woodwind" (iNews).

The excellent reviews can be read in full here.

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