Tim Gill (cello) & Sound Intermedia (live electronics)
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Jonathan Harvey won a Gramophone Award in 2008 for his NMC CD Body Mandala. The works, commissioned by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, explore his fascination with Eastern philosophies.
The BBC Symphony Orchestra celebrates the life and work of Jonathan Harvey in two days of concerts, films and talks at the Barbican, London. Total Immersion runs from the 28-29 January 2012.
Harvey’s Bhakti was the first release on NMC in 1989.
Jonathan was invited by Pierre Boulez to work at IRCAM in the early 1980s.
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 work was commissioned by pianist Joanna MacGregor) 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, but here performed on oboe and cello, with live electronics from Sound Intermedia.
Harvey: Bird Concerto With Pianosong
Bird Concerto With Pianosong
Harvey: Ricercare Una Melodia For Oboe
Ricercare Una Melodia For Oboe
Harvey: Other Presences
Harvey: Ricercare Una Melodia For Cello
Ricercare Una Melodia For Cello
13th November 2011
“Actual (Californian) birdsong opens the half-hour movement; the work proceeds as an ever-alert, ripplingly inventive dialogue between raw nature and musical modernism. Art wins out, of course, but the frame of reference has been fascinatingly shifted. Hideki Nagano’s performance is scintillating.”
17th November 2011
“The common factor between the three works by Jonathan Harvey on this disc is their use of electronic sampling to extend the range and complexity of the solo instrumental writing...If the technology used in Ricercare is much less sophisticated than in the later works, Harvey still uses it to striking effect”
“Here is yet another mesmerising disc of music by Jonathan Harvey. Bird Concerto with Pianosong is a work of remarkable, beguiling beauty, in which the sounds of real birds intertwine with the transformations of their song by the soloist and ensemble...Other Presences from 2006 is an involving example of dialogue between solo trumpet and electronics...Strongly recommended.”
“He meets the implied, self-imposed comparison with Messiaen head-on...In the hands of a lesser composer the result may appear overly literal, even naive...But Harvey has never shirked away from direct expression when it's suited him...this intriguing work offers Harvey's trademark deftness and acoustic stimulation in equal measure.”
“Hideki Nagano renders the exacting solo part [of Birdconcerto] with assurance, the London Sinfonietta sounding no less impressive in the hands of David Atherton...Performances are as authoritative as might be expected from musicians such as Gareth Hulse, Paul Archibald and Tim Gill”