A brief reflection on a great man.
Conducting Harry’s music was akin to an unending journey, discovering along the way new worlds of sound and individual modes of musical expression.
I find the music all-consuming, and the task of revealing each newly minted Birtwistle world – as indeed each piece presents – a totally engaging effort of will and dedication.
The world of Gawain is other than that of The Last Supper, and The Mask of Orpheus is from a different planet to both! Like Mask, Theseus Game requires two Conductors. The labyrinthine complexity Harry imagined in this tour de force of compositional ingenuity was uniquely challenging to unravel.
Music that is gripping, compelling, invigorating, occasionally bewildering, but always sincere and true to the individual voice with which Harry was gifted.
I remember with huge warmth and happiness several fascinating telephone conversations Harry and I had in lockdown.
Sometimes we reflected on the fresh in our memory glory of The Mask of Orpheus at ENO. But more often we chatted about the piece he was currently writing, and the new worlds he was striving to find notes to express.
Rest in peace dear Harry.