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Birtwistle: Complete String Quartets
 
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Birtwistle: Complete String Quartets

12 Mar. 2012 | Format: MP3

£7.99 (VAT included if applicable)
Also available in CD Format
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2:58
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1:54
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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 6 Mar. 2012
  • Label: Aeon
  • Copyright: 2012 Aeon
  • Total Length: 59:27
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B007HKCD9C
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,459 in Albums (See Top 100 in Albums)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By droflim on 28 July 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The sound quality on this disc is stunning as is the Arditti's playing. The clarity, precision and and sheer presence make this unforgettable. It will take longer for the music itself to reveal itself (to me anyway) but as it is, a few months into listening, it has a magnetic effect - it absorbs your whole attention. Both works were composed for the Arditti Quartet and it is moot perhaps as to whether the composer's experience or the increasing mastery of the Quartet spur the other to greater achievement. Superb.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By B. Gillie on 7 Jan. 2013
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Well worth investigating if you don't expect the listener to get a full reward without making an effort. As a young man I found Birtwistle's music too perplexing, but I've come to realise he is one of England's greatest composers, and find much of his music immensely moving. But this is probably not where I would recommend the uncommitted to start. (Try perhaps "Night's Black Bird" on NMC or the wonderful 2CD compendium on Decca, including Secret Theatre & Endless Parade.)
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By N. E. M. Goulder on 29 Nov. 2012
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Harrison Birtwistle is definitely an interesting case. Much of what he has composed is rather sharp on the ear. Many years back I was impressed by the uncompromising pungency of Verses and Refrains - not the best material to listen to when relaxing and lounging by the pool on holiday, but nonetheless a voice and a vision. I went to the Glyndebourne staging of The Last Supper, and to one of the first performances of The Minotaur. Both seemed to me to be failures - the Last Supper absolutely lacked any forward dramatic momentum, while the Minotaur seemed a bit like its lead part - a buzz of mental action locked in a cage with sharp edges. On both occasions I found I was aching for it all to end.

Then more recently I bought CD's, this one here of the Arditti playing his string quartet music and the fine NMC disc of Night's Black Bird, Shadow of Night and Cry of Anubis. One always has to be a little wary because the Arditti could make the random scratchings of a monkey sound authentic and impressive, but actually wow here is Birtwistle finally doing what everyone else seems to have ignored for the past eighty years, and that's to step out to follow up where Stravinsky's path might lead. He is also drawing from Carter and Nancarrow which I'm glad to hear - we need development in music that has better intermeshing. The Tree of Strings quartet undoubtedly is positive music despite the slightly strange tale about Raasay that accompanies it. In the case of Cry of Anubis, it is no surprise that Birtwistle struggles to coax a rewarding sound out of the tuba as a solo instrument (why try?), but the other two works on the NMC disc have striking presences and I have listened to them quite a few times with pleasure.

So while for me Birtwistle is a pretty mixed bag, I certainly enjoyed the quartets here. They are beautifully played and recorded.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Peter Street on 18 Nov. 2012
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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.
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