Daniel Barenboim conducts the première of Harrison Birtwistle’s new orchestral work, Deep Time, in Berlin on 5 June with the Berlin Staatskapelle at the Philharmonie with a further performance the following day at the Konzerthaus. The orchestra travels with Barenboim to the BBC Proms in London on 16 July for the UK première at the Royal Albert Hall.
Viewed by the composer as the final panel in a triptych alongside The Triumph of Time and Earth Dances, the 20-minute score resonates with temporal and seismic themes and carries a memorial dedication to Peter Maxwell Davies.
Birtwistle describes how ‘the concept of Deep Time follows on from the work of the eighteenth-century Scottish geologist James Hutton who proposed that the processes of rock erosion, sedimentation and formation have “no vestige of a beginning, no prospect of an end”, a state of perpetual change I’ve always been interested in … When I lived on the Scottish island of Raasay I discovered that some of the oldest and youngest rocks sit together because of a broad geological faultline. One time has erupted into the other time creating a discontinuity that has parallels with the new orchestral piece.’
Read an interview with Birtwistle about Deep Time