Harrison Birtwistle: Punch and Judy

Harrison Birtwistle: Punch and Judy

NMC Recordings
Regular price
Sale price
Regular price
Coming Soon
Unit price

A reissue of the acclaimed recording by the London Sinfonietta under David Atherton, with soloists including Phyllis Bryn-Julson, David Wilson-Johnson and John Tomlinson.

Premiered in 1968 at Aldeburgh, Punch and Judy – together with Verses for Ensembles and The Triumph of Time - firmly established Birtwistle as a leading voice in British music. It elaborates the traditional puppet-play into an opera of stylised violence and ritual: the simplicity of the children's entertainment contrasts with Punch's homicidal actions.

Pretty Polly / Witch Phyllis Bryn-Julson
Judy / Fortune-teller Jan DeGaetani
Lawyer Philip Langridge
Punch Stephen Roberts
Choregos/ Jack Ketch David Wilson-Johnson
Doctor John Tomlinson
London Sinfonietta
David Atherton

Scenario and Libretto Stephen Pruslin



GRAMOPHONE AWARD 1980 (originally issued on Decca)

'This brilliantly sung and played account has a gripping luridness that makes it hard to imagine how the work - a 1960s expressionist masterpiece - could be done differently, never mind better. Setting a libretto of manic intellectuality by Stephen Pruslin, the opera moves with an implacable, raucous energy that is unique.' The Sunday Times

'Even if there were alternative recordings available this would be one to choose because it’s such a vivid performance. Congratulations, NMC for helping to keep new British music alive!' Music Web

'powerful and challenging' New Classics

‘David Lefeber has done a sterling job of remastering. A triumph all round.’ Fanfare


The Ancora Series is supported by Arts Council England


Punch and Judy was recorded in June-July 1979 at Decca Studios, West Hampstead, London.

Assistant Producer: ANDREW CORNALL
Recording Engineer: STANLEY GOODALL
Remastering: DAVID LEFEBER for Metier
Executive Producer: COLIN MATTHEWS


Catalogue number: NMC D138
Release Date: 14 May 2007