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Jonathan Harvey: Works for Flute & Piano


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Audio CD, May 26, 2009
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Product Details

  • Performer: Florian Hoelscher, Pirmin Grehl
  • Composer: Jonathan Harvey
  • Audio CD (May 26, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Neos
  • ASIN: B00284G2SK
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,291,594 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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On this Neos disc from 2009, a production of Central German Radio, Pirmin Grehl and Florian Hoelscher perform music by Jonathan Harvey for flute and piano. Harvey is best known for combining Hindu, Buddhism or Christian mysticism with modernism, and that is present here, but the disc also displays his response to his compositional forebears and general sense of invention.

Most of the pieces are for piano solo. "4 Images after Yeats" (1969) is one of Harvey's earliest acknowledged pieces. It already shows his mature concerns in that it seeks to focus the listener's mind on something extramusical, but Harvey's language is still pretty generic (post-)serialism. The last movement has some surprising quotations from Classical and Romantic composers.

The major solo piano work here is "Tombeau de Messiaen" for piano and tape (1994), which I think is one of Harvey's masterpieces. The human performer plays his equal-tempered instrument against electronically modulated piano sounds, tuned to natural harmonics. The result is a beautiful prism of sounds, which gradually thickens and, at the climax of the piece, dissipates just as it is about to become noise. Since the performer must keep pace with the tape, there's not so much differences between the various performances on disc, but in terms of sound quality I prefer Hoelscher's.

The remaining solo piano pieces are somewhat less ambitious. "Haiku" (1997) is only about 5 seconds long. It stands with Gyorgy Kurtag's "virag az ember" as ultra-short musical pieces that nonetheless offer a musical argument and resolution. As the title suggests, "ff" (1996) is played at loud dynamic, working resonances and constructing "fake" overtone series. It has a charming ending. "Homage to Cage, ...
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Jonathan Harvey: Works for Flute & Piano
This item: Jonathan Harvey: Works for Flute & Piano
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