The Observer, Edward Bhesania
One of the Manchester group from the fifties, along with Peter Maxwell Davies, Birtwistle had an inclination toward the theatrical that pre-empted his spell as the National Theatre’s director of music in the Seventies and Eighties. The contrast in activity between the sparse, Sati-esque Berceuse de Jeanne for solo piano, and the manic chattering across two flutes and trumpet in Hoquetus Petrus is striking, yet there’s a thoroughly original face to each of the pieces here – spanning 40 years – and a natural, even warm disposition to the instrumentation.
The young Galliard Ensemble’s performances are revelatory. Stunning music and extraordinary playing.