Harrison Birtwistle Quotes

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I think music has gone through a period of something very severe, rather radical, rather the way painting did with cubism.
Harrison Birtwistle
When I dealt with set theory, I could never make it be the music that I wanted.
Harrison Birtwistle
When I was a kid, I wrote music - from the age of 11 until the age of 18.
When I was confronted with official tuition, the academic thing, I could see no relationship whatever between that and the music I'd been writing since I was 11.
Harrison Birtwistle
My operas usually come from musical ideas rather than ideas about subject matter.
Harrison Birtwistle
The theatre only knows what it's doing next week, not like the opera, where they say: What are we going to do in five years' time? A completely different attitude.
Harrison Birtwistle
This sounds horribly pretentious, but I like to think that if music hadn't existed, I could have invented it.
Harrison Birtwistle
Music is such a problem in the time it takes.
I didn't have a record player.
The thing about influence is that any composer worth anything will give you the same names.
Harrison Birtwistle
I always write the pieces I want to write.
My attitude to writing is like when you do wallpapering, you remember where all the little bits are that don't meet. And then your friends say: It's terrific!
Harrison Birtwistle
I'm not a music lover in the sense that I look for something to have on. I've never had that attitude to music.
Harrison Birtwistle
There are rhythmic ideas which sometimes only work up to a point. In writing there are moments when it just comes off the page, it's not just a collection of notes.
Harrison Birtwistle
I think there are influences that you open the door to, and influences that come under the door.
Harrison Birtwistle
Minimalism now is a reaction to what came before. It's absolutely of its time. Music moved into the set theory thing, and moved out of it.
Harrison Birtwistle
It's the irrational things that interest me.
I wrote music as soon as I knew notation.
One thing I've tried to do in writing music is take on very basic things, very archetypal things.
Harrison Birtwistle
I don't think there is much American music.
I don't have ideas so much as there are things which constantly evolve… there are various threads or layers, if you like, which change.
Harrison Birtwistle
You either are or you're not.
I'm not an architectural composer.
My operas and my theatre works are very formal pieces.
The opera tells the story with all the built-in contradictions and from many different angles.
Harrison Birtwistle
In the end it doesn't matter what you do.
The piece that had a large influence on me was Turangalila.
People say my music is English. I don't know what it is. Maybe it's not me writing English music, but that English music is becoming more like me.
Harrison Birtwistle