Top Quotes from Harrison Birtwistle

By | March 10, 2016

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

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

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

You either are or you’re not.

Harrison Birtwistle

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

When I was a kid, I wrote music – from the age of 11 until the age of 18.

Harrison Birtwistle

When I dealt with set theory, I could never make it be the music that I wanted.

Harrison Birtwistle

This sounds horribly pretentious, but I like to think that if music hadn’t existed, I could have invented it.

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

The thing about influence is that any composer worth anything will give you the same names.

Harrison Birtwistle

The piece that had a large influence on me was Turangalila.

Harrison Birtwistle

The opera tells the story with all the built-in contradictions and from many different angles.

Harrison Birtwistle

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

One thing I’ve tried to do in writing music is take on very basic things, very archetypal things.

Harrison Birtwistle

My operas usually come from musical ideas rather than ideas about subject matter.

Harrison Birtwistle

My operas and my theatre works are very formal pieces.

Harrison Birtwistle

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

Music is such a problem in the time it takes.

Harrison Birtwistle

It’s the irrational things that interest me.

Harrison Birtwistle

In the end it doesn’t matter what you do.

Harrison Birtwistle

I’m not an architectural composer.

Harrison Birtwistle

I wrote music as soon as I knew notation.

Harrison Birtwistle

I think there are influences that you open the door to, and influences that come under the door.

Harrison Birtwistle

I think music has gone through a period of something very severe, rather radical, rather the way painting did with cubism.

Harrison Birtwistle

I don’t think there is much American music.

Harrison Birtwistle

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

I didn’t have a record player.

Harrison Birtwistle

I always write the pieces I want to write.

Harrison Birtwistle

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