Wild Tracks reviews

Sinfini Music May 2014

Review by Jonathan Cross

"An intimate, delicate portrait of composer Harrison Birtwistle makes for an unputdownable book, says Jonathan Cross - a meditation on nature and time, memory and music."


The Spectator May 2014

The yes-no-maybe world of Harrison Birtwistle by Stephen Walsh

"We can probably never find out exactly what makes a composer of Birtwistle’s blend of hesitancy and originality tick. Even why one loves his music — as Fiona Maddocks and I both do, among many others — is quite hard to explain. But there are plenty of clues in this enchanting book, and a great deal of food for thought."


The Financial Times June 2014

Summer Reading by Andrew Clark

"Maddocks’ long familiarity with one of Britain’s leading composers, 80 this year, has given her privileged access to his thoughts, making her “conversation diary” an illuminating study of compositional psychology and process. We eavesdrop on Birtwistle’s insecurities and obsessions, and learn how the wider threads of his life are woven into his music."


Standpoint Magazine June 2014

The Inimitable Birtwistle by Norman Lebrecht

"He tells Fiona Maddocks in a gripping new book of conversations titled Wild Tracks(Faber, £22.50) that his father was variously a baker, a farmer, or a black-marketeer. When Fiona prods for detail, he scuttles away. Or talks about cricket, a Lanky passion."


The TLS 29th October 2014

A vast machinery by Paul Griffiths (requires subscription)


Plain English (an ArtsJournal blog) January 7th 2015

We're all wild about Harry by Paul Levy

"Fiona Maddocks has constructed this volume so artfully that it often gives as much pleasure as reading a novel. Not necessarily a novel about music or composers – it’s not Thomas Mann’s Doctor Faustus, though Harry has his Leverkühn moments. With its purposeful diversions and digressions, its interjected conversations with Harry’s enchanting family, friends and colleagues, with its whiffs of gossip (usually substantial enough to count as history), its attention to food, wine and the visual aspects of houses, gardens and interiors as well as pictures, Wild Tracks is, I think, a small, genuine masterpiece."