sun 08/12/2019

BBC Proms: London Sinfonietta, BBC Singers, Atherton, Cadogan Hall | reviews, news & interviews

BBC Proms: London Sinfonietta, BBC Singers, Atherton, Cadogan Hall

BBC Proms: London Sinfonietta, BBC Singers, Atherton, Cadogan Hall

Davies and Birtwistle slug it out in afternoon Prom

Sirs Peter Maxwell Davies and Harrison Birtwistle reunited in another concert

Sirs Harrison Birtwistle and Peter Maxwell Davies have now been at each others’ heels for almost 60 years. First, the composers were students together at the Royal Manchester College of Music. Then, once their careers began flourishing they kept rubbing against each other in concert programmes. Inevitable, really: the same organisations commissioned them; they were the Twin Peaks of British Modernism. Even now, for old times’ sake, the pair can’t escape each others’ shadow. Since this Proms Saturday Matinee began with Sir PMD’s unaccompanied motet of 1997, Il rozzo martello, we knew Sir HB couldn’t be far behind. And there he was, roaring and savage in Angel Fighter, a very dramatic cantata of sorts, based on the Genesis story of Jacob wrestling with the Angel, written for the Bachfest Leipzig 2010. This was its British premiere.

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