COVID-19 Response at

Read what we're doing...

Harrison Birtwistle's Operas and Music Theatre


Product Description
Product Details

Table of Contents

1. The roots of Birtwistle's theatrical expression: from Pantomime to Down by the Greenwood Side; 2. Punch and Judy: parody, allusion, and the grotesque; 3. The Mask of Orpheus: 'lyrical formalism', time and narrative; 4. Yan Tan Tethera: pastoral labyrinths and the scene-agent ratio; 5. The shadow of opera: dramatic narrative and musical discourse in Gawain; 6. 'A face like music': shaping images into sound in The Second Mrs Kong; 7. Corporeal music: Bow Down, The Io Passion and The Corridor; 8. The Last Supper and The Minotaur: eyes 'half filled and half deserted'; Bibliography.

Promotional Information

A definitive source study of the stage works of Harrison Birtwistle, one of Britain's foremost living composers.

About the Author

David Beard is Senior Lecturer in Music at Cardiff University, where he is Director of the MA programme in Musicology. He has published widely on the music of Harrison Birtwistle in academic journals, including Music Analysis, the Cambridge Opera Journal and Twentieth-Century Music, and in notes for concerts and opera festivals. He has contributed to Peter Maxwell Davies Studies, Ancient Drama in Music for the Modern Stage and Dichotonies: Gender and Music, and he is the co-author of Musicology: The Key Concepts.


'Even were Harrison Birtwistle's Operas and Music Theatre not so well written by such a perceptive and well-qualified author as David Beard, it would be a definitive study. Since it is, the book can be unreservedly recommended for anyone interested in this corner of contemporary music: they cannot but come away with a greatly enhanced understanding of how Birtwistle's music works. For enthusiasts of Birtwistle's original and beautiful musical world it's essential.' Mark Sealey, Classical Net (
'David Beard's new study of all Birtwistle's dramatic works is as impressively comprehensive and thorough as anyone could hope ... There is a wealth of new insight and information in every chapter ... this is a wonderfully dedicated study, which provides an invaluable guide to the most significant operatic achievement of our time.' Andrew Clements, Opera
'... composers have a thousand ways of conjuring notes, and it is a testimony to Beard's skill and diligence that he has managed to explain so many of them ... When Beard explicates the music he writes with admirable clarity, and no future writer on the composer can ignore the insights he offers ... one hopes that Beard's colleagues at Cardiff University have cracked open a few expensive bottles in celebration of his achievement, even as they reflect that his exhaustive efforts have deprived other scholars of a profitable research area for a few generations to come.' Kevin O'Connell, The Musical Times
'... the nature of Beard's focus enables him consistently to provide fresh, alternative insights that complement and enhance the existing literature ... [He] provides the reader with valuable, fascinating insights into Birtwistle's compositional workshop ... [and] draws on an impressive range of technical and conceptual tools alongside a keen eye for musical details that open up new interpretative vistas. This is a serious, committed volume that makes a significant contribution to Birtwistle scholarship, and should be essential reading for anyone interested in stage music of the late twentieth century.' Edward Venn, Tempo

Ask a Question About this Product More...
Write your question below:
Look for similar items by category
Home » Books » Music » Genres & Styles » Opera
People also searched for
How Fishpond Works
Fishpond works with suppliers all over the world to bring you a huge selection of products, really great prices, and delivery included on over 25 million products that we sell. We do our best every day to make Fishpond an awesome place for customers to shop and get what they want — all at the best prices online.
Webmasters, Bloggers & Website Owners
You can earn a 5% commission by selling Harrison Birtwistle's Operas and Music Theatre (Music Since 1900) on your website. It's easy to get started - we will give you example code. After you're set-up, your website can earn you money while you work, play or even sleep! You should start right now!
Authors / Publishers
Are you the Author or Publisher of a book? Or the manufacturer of one of the millions of products that we sell. You can improve sales and grow your revenue by submitting additional information on this title. The better the information we have about a product, the more we will sell!
Item ships from and is sold by Fishpond Retail Limited.
Back to top