Harrison Birtwistle: Silbury Air (pulse & rhythm)

Silbury Air http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFAReXvYm7A About this piece and how he uses ‘pulse’ Birtwistle starts a simple repeating ‘pulse’ on an ‘E’ harmonic, on the middle-register of the double bass. From this and throughout the piece, the idea of pulse is used as a textural device, in the way different pulses are layered over each other. The music isn’t solely based on this concept, as the idea sometimes deviates and contracts in the example of the: volatile brass fanfares or the lyrical choral writing in the woodwinds. The pulse idea is also manipulated throughout the piece with it either being stretched over long sections or compressed into small violent gestures.

Birtwistle will also be at the conservatoire this month, in a series of concerts celebrating his music. http://www.bcu.ac.uk/conservatoire/events-calendar/birtwistle-in-birmingham-pre-concert-talk-sir-harrison-birtwistle-in-conversation-with-howard-skempton-27-11-2014

Further Listening:

Harrison Birtwistle- Carmen arcadiae mechanicae perpetuum

Colin Matthews- Fourth Sonata for Orchestra.

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