Refrains and Choruses (DXL 1019)



As a trained clarinettist, many of Sir Harrison Birtwistle’s most significant chamber works have been written for wind instruments. Many of these important works have not, until now, been well represented within the recording catalogues.

The Galliard Ensemble was formed in 1993 comprising entirely of graduates from the Royal Academy of Music, London. It has a stunning reputation for performances, recordings, broadcasts and for the commissioning of contemporary works. Also joining them on the CD is the highly acclaimed pianist Richard Shaw, Head of Keyboard skills and Staff Accompanist at the Royal Academy of Music, who has worked with many leading composers and instrumentalists.

Together they perform with expertise a varied selection of Birtwistle’s wind ensemble works covering a broad range of instrumentation, influences and structure. Extending from his first published and acknowledged wind ensemble Refrains and Choruses (1957), to the beautiful, melancholic Sad Song (1971) for solo piano, to the Duets for Storab (1983) for two flutes, and to An Interrupted Endless Melody (1991) for oboe and piano. Each piece, though typically Birtwistlian, embraces flavours and influences from composers such as Satie, Vaughan Williams, Stravinsky and Varese, whilst individually exploring the possibilities of varied musical form.

This CD is the result of a 3-way collaboration between The Classical Source (, Deux-Elles Classical Recordings and the Galliard Ensemble.

Track List:

1. Hoquetus Petrus
2. Refrains and Choruses
3. Hector’s Dawn

Duets for Storab
4. Urlar
5. Stark pastoral–
6. Fanfare with birds
7. White pastoral
8. From the church of lies
9. Crunluath

10. Linoi
11. Berceuse de Jeanne
12. Verses
13. Chorale from a Toy-Shop
14. Sad Song

An interrupted Endless Melody
15. I
16. II
17. III

18. Oockooing Bird
19. Five Distances

Formed in 1993, The Galliard Ensemble have a stunning reputation for their performances and recordings of contemporary works. Joining them here for this collection of chamber works by Sir Harrison Birtwistle is acclaimed pianist Richard Shaw.

“A brisk, bracing, bravura Birtwistle recital from a young ensemble of considerable merit.”
Gramophone, November 2001

* Critics Choice 2001 – Gramophone *
* Critics Choice 2001 – BBC Music Magazine *
* CD of the Week – The OBSERVER *

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