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Classical, Chamber Music
ECM New Series
April 14, 2014

Format: Compact Disc



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This album of Sir Harrison Birtwistle's chamber music and songs, mostly of recent vintage, is issued as the innovative Great British composer approaches his 80th birthday (he was born in Accrington in July 1934). It features an exceptional line-up of performers. Heard together and separately is the trio of Austrian pianist Till Fellner, Georgian violinist Lisa Batiashvili and English cellist Adrian Brendel. They are joined by London-born singers, soprano Amy Freston and baritone Roderick Williams.

The compositions include "Bogenstrich" written in 2006 as a short piece in tribute to Alfred Brendel and first played by his son Adrian together with Till Fellner. It was subsequently expanded into a cycle with the addition of settings of Rilke for baritone, cello and piano. The Trio for piano, violin and cello is the newest piece, premiered in 2011, a 16-minute single movement work of elaborate patterning, gestures and responses.

Settings of the concise writings of US Objectivist poet Lorine Niedecker (1903-1970), scored for soprano and cello in 1998 and 2000, begin and close the album. As Bayan Northcott writes in the booklet, "These concentrated songs demand the utmost of their performers in precision, expression and timing. As in Webern's settings, the few words and notes on the page can seem to imply whole worlds of thought and feeling". This highly-concentrated chamber-scale expressivity is felt throughout the entire album, recorded at Munich's famed Herkulessaal, and produced by Manfred Eicher.

Personnel: Lisa Batiashvili (violin), Adrian Brendel (cello), Till Fellner (piano), Amy Freston (soprano), Roderick Williams (baritone)

Press Quotes

(4 stars) This gripping disc of chamber and vocal music is unexpectedly playful, tender, mysterious, mellow, sparse and elegiac. The performers are top-notch and the interpretations intense and cogent.

The Times, (Richard Morrison), April 26, 2014

More Info

Key Value
Catalogue number 4765050
Barcode 0028947650508
Number of items 1
Packaging type Jewel Case
Imported No
Weight 120g
Dimensions (LxWxH) 143mm x 11mm x 128mm

Disc 1

Track Listing — Disc 1

Song Title Time
1. Three Settings Of Lorine Niedecker: Always North Of Him 01:19
2. I Was The Solitary Plover 01:42
3. As I Shook Dust From My Father's Door 01:17
4. Trio for violin, violoncello and piano 15:53
5. Bogenstrich: Liebes-Lied 1 06:03
6. Lied ohne Worte 06:16
7. Variationen 06:22
8. Wie eine Fuge 06:19
9. Liebes-Lied 2 06:26
10. Nine Settings Of Lorine Niedecker: There's a Better Shine 01:01
11. My Friend Tree 00:48
12. Along The River 01:34
13. Hear Where Her Snowgrave Is 01:01
14. How the White Gulls 02:02
15. My Life 02:13
16. Paul 01:43
17. O Late Fall 01:09
18. Sleep's Dream 01:55