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.
CD OF THE WEEK
BBC Radio 3
ALBUM OF THE WEEK
"Harvey’s is an enchanted forest that can turn on a dime from bucolic, like something out of a D.H. Lawrence novel, to foreboding and Grimm. In a 30-minute work, we see the culmination of centuries of music designed to either mirror or absorb birdsong, starting from cuckoo calls in Medieval British folk tunes to Per Norgard’s D’Monstrantz Voogeli, layered in a similar way to Harvey’s own work. Composer’s eyes, as we hear in Harvey’s multitude of sampled styles, have long been on the sparrow"
WQXR Radio New York