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3(II,III=picc).3(III=corA).3(II=ebcl;III=bcl).bcl(=dbcl).3(III=dbn)-4.4(III=picc.tpt).4.1-perc(3):vib/7cowbells*/9wdbl*/tamb/4bongos*/high-pitched drum(sm)/BD/3tam-t*/xyl/crot/9tpl.bl*/6tom-t*/crasher/3gongs*/glsp/marimba/t.bells/clave/castanet machine/hi-hat-2harp-strings(

All sets of instruments marked with * should be of varying pitch. In the score, percussion is numbered 1-9, 1 being the lowest pitch and 9 being the highest.

Abbreviations (PDF)


Boosey & Hawkes

This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.


World Premiere
Herkulessaal, München
Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano / Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks / Stefan Asbury
Press Quotes

"This characteristically ever-evolving, single (25-minute) movement bears the remarkable title Responses: Sweet Disorder and the Carefully Careless, which is that of a book of essays by Birtwistle’s friend Robert Maxwell... The composer must not be "too precise in every part", a frequent failing of the post-Schoenbergian serial music on which Birtwistle cut his teeth. But his own imagination has never subordinated itself to mathematics, and certainly doesn’t in this turbulent, scherzo-like, brilliantly multilayered score (a melodic thread always on hand to lead us through the maze of invention)... the soloist-and-tutti relationship, Birtwistle’s abiding concern, went into a dazzling new dimension."
Sunday Times

"This is a work of micro-precision and macro-energy, the outworkings of an intellect and a vast orchestra on the boil – and both at the top of their form. The score quivers with minute subdivisions of time and space, and intensely marked dynamics. Ear, mind and fingers are given a nonstop workout, as material fractures, explodes, collides and responds, sweet flute fragments blown on the wind, brass and multiple percussion soloists louring and leering. And under it all, that deep, dark sense of the earth itself breathing."
The Times

Recommended Recording

Pierre-Laurent Aimard / Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks / Stefan Asbury (musica viva 2014)
NEOS 11729


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