ALBUM TITLE: Harvey
WORKS: Tranquil Abiding; Body Mandala; Timepieces; White as Jasmine; …towards a pure land.
PERFORMER: Anu Komsi (soprano); BBC Scottish SO/Ilan Volkov, Stefan Solyom
CATALOGUE NO: D141
The five works on this outstanding release span almost two decades, the earliest being Timepieces from 1989. Harvey provides for two conductors employing different metres, with some instruments following independent rhythms, which converge in the second movement, The third has the conductors improvising patterns. These schemes risk dry, mechanical results, but Harvey’s assured, dramatic use of dynamics, rhythmic vigour and rich, imaginative scoring avoid the pitfalls. Tranquil Abiding(1998), settings for soprano of Hindu devotional poems celebrating Shiva, progress from ‘a flameless fire’ to ‘the sudden dawn of a million million suns’ is vividly evoked by stunning orchestral coups. Pure Ladn and Body Mandala comprise two-thirds of a triptych composed for the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra (the central panel, Speakings is due to be premiered in Paris this June). Pure Land, providing the strongest example of Harvey’s interest in correspondences between ‘musical’ and ‘natural’ sounds, deals with purification of the mind, whilst Mandala, addressing the purification of the body, incorporates wonderfully visceral conjurations of the traditional instruments used in Buddhist rituals.