«Jonathan Harvey: Bird Concerto With Pianosong”
|Jonathan Dean Harvey||
Bird Concerto with Pianosong,
Ricercare una melodia for oboe,
Ricercare una melodia for cello,
Timothy Gill (Cello), Gareth Hulse (Oboe), Hidéki Nagano (Piano), Paul Archibald (Trumpet).
London Sinfonietta – David Atherton.
Bird Concerto – Harvey’s hommage to Messiaen – is a celebration of the kind of technical advances in electroacoustics which the creator of Oiseaux exotiques and the Catalogue d’oiseaux was never able to explore. Harvey started writing the piece when he was in California and says that ‘indigo bunting, orchard oriole, golden crowned sparrow … are some of the forty colourful Californian birds whose songs and cries sparked the ignition of this work’. The bird sounds have been innovatively transformed to create a mesmeric dialogue between nature and art. Harvey sets the piano soloist the challenge of combining piano playing and triggering a sampler/synthesizer so that the live electronics can be realised in real-time performance.
Other works on this disc are Other Presences, for trumpet and multi-loop effects, and two versions of the canonic Ricercare una melodia (1984) originally written for trumpet and quadraphonic tape-delay system, here performed on oboe and cello, with live electronics from Sound Intermedia
Born in Warwickshire in 1939, Jonathan Harvey was a chorister at St Michael’s College, Tenbury and later a major music scholar at St John’s College, Cambridge. He gained doctorates from the Universities of Glasgow and Cambridge and, on the advice of Benjamin Britten, also studied privately with Erwin Stein and Hans Keller. He was a Harkness Fellow at Princeton (1969-70).
An invitation from Boulez to work at IRCAM in the early 1980s has so far resulted in seven realisations at the Institute, including Mortuos Plango, Vivos Voco – the celebrated tape piece – Bhakti, for ensemble and electronics, and Advaya for cello, live electronics and pre-recorded sounds. Harvey has composed for most other genres: orchestra – Tranquil Abiding, White as Jasmine and Madonna of Winter and Spring; chamber – including four string quartets, and Death of Light, Light of Death. He has written many widely-performed works for choir, as well as the large-scale cantata for the BBC Proms Millennium, Mothers shall not Cry (2000). His stage works include the church opera Passion and Resurrection (1981); Inquest of Love (1993), commissioned by ENO; and Wagner Dream (2007), commissioned by Nederlandse Oper in association with the Grand Théâtre de Luxembourg, the Holland Festival and IRCAM.
Harvey’s music is played and toured by major ensembles – including Ensemble Modern, Ensemble Intercontemporain and ASKO. His music has been showcased at Strasbourg Musica, Ars Musica Brussels, Musica Nova Helsinki, the Acanthes and Agora festivals, and other centres for contemporary music; some 150-200 performances are given or broadcast each year and about 80 recordings of his music are available on CD – including Bhakti, NMC’s inaugural release (NMC D001).
Harvey was Professor of Music at Sussex University between 1977 and 1993, and is currently an Honorary Professor there. He was Professor of Music at Stanford University (US) (1995-2000), Visiting Professor of Music at Imperial College, London and is an Honorary Fellow of St. John’s College, Cambridge. From 2005-07 he has been Composer-in-Association with the BBC Scottish SO. He has honorary doctorates from the Universities of Southampton, Sussex, Bristol and Huddersfield, is a Member of Academia Europaea, and in 1993 was awarded the prestigious Britten Award for composition.