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date: 23 October 2019

Birtwistle, Sir Harrison (opera)locked

  • Andrew Clements

Extract

(b Accrington, July 15, 1934). English composer . He studied at the RMCM from 1952 to 1955, where his first study was the clarinet rather than composition; in 1953 he was a founder-member of the New Music Manchester Group with his fellow-students Alexander Goehr, Peter Maxwell Davies, John Ogdon and Elgar Howarth. Their performances of music of the Second Viennese School and the post-Webern avant garde gave Birtwistle a first grounding in modernism. After National Service he continued his clarinet studies at the RAM, but the impact of hearing recent scores by Boulez and Stockhausen in 1957 encouraged him to turn to composition. By the early 1960s, Birtwistle had established a distinctive musical style, which, though it owed something to the surface discontinuities of post-Webern serialism, employed none of its techniques. Two works composed while he was director of music at Cranborne Chase School, the dramatic cantata The Mark of the Goat...

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