Man Who Has Come Through – Music by Anthony Burgess and Beethoven
International Anthony Burgess Foundation
1st December 2023
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To mark the 30th anniversary of his death, the newly discovered string quartet will be performed for the first time at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation this December.
Best known as the author of A Clockwork Orange, Burgess was a prolific amateur composer whose work as a musician is now being widely performed and recorded.
A ‘lost’ string quartet by Burgess has been discovered among uncatalogued papers in the International Anthony Burgess Foundation archive. The music is part of an extensive collection of manuscripts donated by the late Liana Burgess, Anthony’s widow.
The concert programme includes ‘Man Who Has Come Through’, a song cycle based on four late poems by D.H. Lawrence, set by Burgess for tenor and chamber ensemble in 1985. The song cycle has been performed in Nottingham and Edinburgh, and this will be its Manchester premiere. Beethoven’s String Quartet in F major, opus no. 135 is also on the programme.
Burgess wrote music throughout his life, including a violin concerto for Yehudi Menuhin and harmonica pieces for Larry Adler.
The BBC Philharmonic performed his Symphony in C (1975) and broadcast on Radio 3 as part of the Manchester International Festival in 2017.
Burgess died at the age of 76 in London on 22 November 1993. The concert commemorates the 30th anniversary of his passing.
Andrew Biswell, director of the Burgess Foundation, said: ‘This performance of Anthony Burgess’s string quartet, along with the D.H. Lawrence song cycle, will bring his musical work more clearly into focus. I’m sure that audiences will be surprised and delighted by the opportunity to discover these two unfamiliar works.’
The concert is part of a broader revival of interest in Burgess as a novelist with a dual career as a prolific and accomplished musician.
In September 2023, Naxos released a recording of his Complete Guitar Quartets, performed by the award-winning Mēla Quartet.
A new collection of Burgess’s Essays on Music, edited by the composer and conductor Paul Phillips, will be published by Carcanet in January 2024.
The Prophecy of A Clockwork Orange, a major new documentary about Anthony Burgess, produced by CPB Films and directed by Elisa Mantin and Benoit Felici, will be released in France, Germany and Italy by Arte on 15 November 2023.