An earlier performance of the Tree of Strings (the premiere), which is about - among other things - the absence of music under social duress, was issued through the Wittener Musiktage-WDR link in 2008, and after finding a copy auctioned through eBay at a price I couldn't match, I was very kindly sold one at a reasonable price by a source close to the original. Aeon's recording date is 2010, so this is a second recording by the Arditti within two years. I knew it through the UK performance broadcast on Radio 3, which was a rivetting experience. Living in the Highlands myself at the time of its origin, occasionally hearing Sorley Maclean's own readings, and following the attempts of that wee cowring timorous beastie, the then Highland and Islands Development Board, to deal with the scandal of the neglect of Birtwistle's starting point, the Isle of Raasay, then in the hands of its last (hopefully) speculative private part-owner (one Dr Green in leafy Sussex), a final stage of over a century and a half of social duress, Birtwistle's subtext, or one of them, is all too clear to me. Though the note-writer doesn't mention it, a previous nineteenth century former slaveowning laird of the island, George Rainy, actually forbade marriage there. Birtwistle's work is perhaps not the equal in simple eloquence of Maclean's "Hallaig", but in all other respects it's a fitting counterpart to it - and by an incomer, too. It's worth all the effort it takes to get to know it.