This study offers, for the first time, a fascinating scene-by-scene commentary on Birtwistle's magnum opus. Drawing on revealing insights from the composer's sketches, Jonathan Cross negotiates expertly between details of compositional structure and the work's poetic content. The frequent references to other works make this book a valuable companion for anyone interested in a deeper understanding of Birtwistle's music. Robert Adlington, University of Nottingham, UK
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