The London Sinfonietta's classic recording of Birtwistle’s landmark scores, Secret Theatre and Silbury Air, is reissued in NMC's Ancora series.
"No more exciting recording of contemporary music than this has appeared for many a day. It celebrates the virtues, and the virtuosity, of the London Sinfonietta and also celebrates the Sinfonietta’s long association with Harrison Birtwistle, including three of the four most substantial works he has written for them. It is Secret Theatre that makes this new recording special… it is an enthralling exploration of the interaction between what Birtwistle terms ‘cantus’ and ‘continuum’ – chant-like melody and block-like, chordally-constructed harmony. These two elements are of equal importance, and serve to promote the real drama of the music: the confrontation, and achievement of equilibrium, between individual and collective. These compositions leave no doubts as to why Birtwistle is such a formidable, acclaimed presence on the contemporary scene. All that needs to be said about the performances, and the recording, is that they do the music justice.” – Gramophone 1991