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Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 11 February 2003
Wow -- finally got round to this and it's knocking my socks off. Never have I heard HB's writing sound so direct; the performances and recording just emphasise the clarity with which this music is put together. The vocal lines are intensely lyrical, & there's a Bartockian quality to the way short motifs ae developed, repeated etc, and also to the way the string quartet is handled. If you don't know HB's music, this is absolutely definitely the place to start. I'm gobsmacked, really.
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on 14 August 2014
This is a fantastic, complex work, immensely powerful and expressive, beautifully performed, as surely will hardly need saying. However, I must issue a warning here: while the CD played fine, it proved impossible to rip it to mp3. It stalled, produced distorted sound and finally simply failed to work at all. I don't know if this is simply a defective disc (I tried ripping it long after amazon's 40-day return period), or, more worrying, if it represents data protection on the publishers' part. I simply fail to see, if it's the latter, why I should be prevented from putting this music on a portable device. It isn't available for download, either. I know the legal situation is fairly complex, or at least contentious, but still...
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on 22 June 2016
All I can say is Crikey! The last track called "Give The Word" - especially the last 20 seconds or so where the soprano stretches the word "light" in the most extraordinary, shocking, beautiful way for about 10 seconds is a total moment of being for me.

I have played it about 30 times in a row which I suppose is a little vulgar but it is so extraordinary I can't help it...

In fact, I love the whole cd - edgy, nervous, fragmentary, masculine and undaunting - and always interesting and unexpected. A wonderful collection of sounds, poems and permutations. It absolutely keeps the brain alive and occasionally makes your heart move in almost a profound way.

I was also introduced to the poet Paul Celan too. Now read quite a lot of his poems. Sad he jumped in a river so many years after suffering so much during the war. I suppose in the end guilt and horror consumed him...
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on 17 August 2014
This is actually an unsatisfactory piece - Birtwistle really doesn't seem to 'get' Celan nor his poetry, so we are left with 60+ mins. of (not the best quality) music by Birtwistle with Celan's texts (in the WRONG language - why?) sitting uncomfortably on top. Oh dear, how very English!
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