RIP Harrison Birtwistle

Source: The Guardian.

For a composer whose music was rooted firmly in early 20th century modernism, in Stravinsky, Webern and Varèse, and whose work was often held up by reactionaries as an example of all that was unapproachable and difficult about contemporary music, Birtwistle’s personal tastes could be surprisingly Catholic. When he was a guest on BBC Radio 3’s Private Passions his choices included a song by Roy Orbison, and he once confessed to me his love of the music of George Butterworth, especially the Shropshire Lad Rhapsody, and how much he admired Gustav Holst’s Egdon Heath.