Explaining Harrison Birtwistle, who turns 80 this month, to someone who has never heard his music is rather like offering chocolate to a newly-landed Martian. Nothing about the product instantly appeals. It looks earthy, sounds dull and feels, in the worst sense of the word, organic — that is to say, too close to gross fundamentals for comfort or pleasure.
That’s the intro to my new Standpoint essay on the music of an English original. Click here to read more.