The Music of Harrison Birtwistle

Robert Adlington

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


Harrison Birtwistle has become the most eminent and acclaimed of contemporary British composers. This book provides a comprehensive view of his large and varied output. It contains descriptions of every published work, and also of a number of withdrawn and unpublished pieces. Revealing light is often cast on the more familiar pieces by considering these lesser-known areas of Birtwistle's oeuvre. The book is structured around a number of broad themes - themes of significance to Birtwistle, but also to much other music. These include theatre, song, time and texture. This approach emphasizes the music's multifarious ways of meaning; now that even the academic world no longer takes the merits of 'difficult' contemporary music for granted, it is all the more important to assess what it represents beyond mere technical innovation. Adlington thus avoids in-depth technical analysis, focusing instead upon the music's wider cultural significance.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages260
ISBN (Print)9780521027809, 0521027802, 9780521630825, 0521630827
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2006
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameMusic in the Twentieth Century
PublisherCambridge University Press


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