Country : Angleterre Label : BIS Genres and styles : Contemporary Year : 2022

Nash Ensemble – Birtwistle : Chamber Works

· by Frédéric Cardin

They say there is strength in numbers. This is the case for this album that brings together the music of one of the most brilliant contemporary composers, the Englishman Harrison Birtwistle, and the exceptional talent of the Nash Ensemble, also English. From the Trio for piano, violin, and cello (deliberate and confrontational in its writing, pitting the strings against the piano) to the Quartet for oboe (nervous and lively, built around a dialogue that generally pits the sparkle of the soloist against the sustained tension of the strings). Not to mention the classic Pulse Sampler for oboe and percussion (a superb juxtaposition of the soloist’s verbose and frisky phrasing, to the emotionally pigmented support of the percussion) and the Duet for Eight Strings (an impressive quilt of tense hesitations, vibrant lines, vigorous ostinatos, and expressive counterpoint, in an overall restrained and restrained atmosphere), everything on this album is worthy of admiration. Birtwistle is an expert at carefully balancing the instrumental forces used, always using them in constructions based on reasonable atonality, tinged with humour (sometimes) and discreet lyricism. Music that is both demanding and very satisfying for any serious music lover.

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