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Endlessly fascinating

The Guardian, Andrew Clements

Though there are two substantial scores in this collection – the 1957 Refrains and Choruses for wind quintet, Birtwistle’s first published work, and the Five Distances for Five Instruments from 1993 – both are already available on disc, as is the curious Oockooing Bird, a piano piece of uncanny modal wanderings dating from his early teens. The other chamber music, occasional pieces and birthday tributes here fill some of the usually overlooked gaps in the composer’s discography. The 1983 Duets for Storab are a set of six short pieces for two flutes, presenting many of Birtwistle’s familiar technical devices in skeletal form, while Verses for clarinet and piano (1965) uses the verse-and-refrain structures that were the building blocks of all his early works. An Interrupted Endless Melody for oboe and piano (1991), meanwhile, plays with changing perspectives between foreground melody and background harmony. Most of this is not great Birtwistle, but it is endlessly fascinating.

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Performed with assurance and flair

BBC Music Magazine, Anthony Burton

These will become reference performances

O Publico, Teresa Cascudo

Excellent performances, highly characterful, firmly shaped and dramatic

New York Times, Paul Griffiths

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Time Out, Martin Hoyle

Immaculate performances … a pure delight … unreservedly recommended

MusicWeb International, Hubert Culot

Demands that were easily met

The Times

A young ensemble of considerable merit

Gramophone, Arnold Whittall

Superb sound

Richard Whitehouse

Excellently played

BBC Music Magazine, Nicholas Williams

One of the highlights

Paul Conway, The Independent

Stunning music and extraordinary playing

 

The Observer, Edward Bhesania

Well performed

The Sunday Times, Paul Driver

The performances are simply breath-taking

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Incisive, confident and well-tuned

BBC Music Magazine, Anthony Burton

Excellent ensemble playing and vivid recording.

Classical Music on the Web UK, Peter Grahame Woolf

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Like angels sent from heaven

Paul Patterson

Beautiful, delicate and fluent playing

Aberdeen Press and Journal, Alan Cooper

A highly talented wind quintet

West Somerset Free Press, Trevor L Sharpe

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Immaculately prepared

Seen & Heard, Peter Graham Woolf

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24/09/2020