Jonathan Harvey - Bird Concerto with Pianosong
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Bird Concerto - Harvey's hommage to Messiaen - is a celebration of the technical advances in electroacoustics. Other works on this disc are Other Presences, for trumpet and multi-loop effects, and two versions of the canonic Ricercare una melodia (1984)
Harvey started writing Bird Concerto 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.

Ricercare una melodia (1984) was originally written for trumpet and quadraphonic tape-delay system, here performed on oboe and cello, with live electronics from Sound Intermedia.

This recording received high acclaim for both music and performers - here are a few of the reviews:

Bird Concerto with Pianosong is a work of remarkable, beguiling beauty ... a wonderfully fresh, post-Messiaen masterpiece ... A marvellous recording. Strongly recommended' BBC Music Magazine

'Harvey has been known for subtle handling of technology and the electroacoustic Bird Concerto with Pianosong takes the fusion of media into new expressive realms. Actual Californian birdsong opens the half-hour movement; the work proceeds as an ever-alert, rippling inventive dialogue between raw nature and musical modernism. Hideki Nagano's performance is scintillating' The Sunday Times

'The wonderfully evocative Other Presences surrounds the solo trumpet with much more complex textures, sounds suggested by Tibetan ritual horns, while the duets between the piano and the sampled birdsongs in the concerto are full of wonderful ideas, with seamless transformations of natural and musical sounds between the soloist and the ensemble of 17 instrumentalists. The duets between piano and the sampled birdsongs in the concerto are full of wonderful ideas ... a beguiling piece.' The Guardian

'This intriguing work offers Harvey’s trademark deftness and acoustic stimulation in equal measures’ Gramophone

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