Birtwistle on his recent Ivor Novello remarks

Hi to everyone coming here recently from Alex Ross after I mentioned Birtwistle’s recent tirade against pop music at the Ivor Novello awards. You might all be interested to read this interview with the composer by Ivan Hewitt that appeared in today’s Telegraph, in which he bigs up Ms Dynamite and comes across as anything but the prickly, reticent character he is often portrayed as.

Everything was so relentless at the Novello awards, I felt deadened. … The point I really wanted to make is the distinction between volume and energy. These days, so many things have a technologically produced noise but no energy. It’s the same in film. Compare the recent King Kong with the original. In terms of technology, the old one is primitive, but what feeling it has. The new one shows you everything, it’s got much better technology, but it’s empty. …

It’s a mental thing, it’s to do with something containing an energy that’s hidden and not to do with battering the senses. The other day I heard Alfred Brendel play Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto. You remember how it begins with just that simple quiet chord? Think what’s required to achieve that.

One thought on “Birtwistle on his recent Ivor Novello remarks

  1. Good for Birtwistle. I think pop music is totally effing dire these days and this

    These days, so many things have a technologically produced noise but no energy

    is spot-on. ProTools might be the work of Satan. Possibly.

    What was hilarious to me was the response of the pop side to his remarks. They boiled down to “Who does ‘e think ‘e is then? How many records has *he* sold”?

    And ENO really, really needs to dig the Mask of Orpheus production out of the warehouse and put it on again.

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