Harvey takes ‘80 Breaths for Tokyo’

Harvey takes ‘80 Breaths for Tokyo’
Harvey’s intrinsic spirituality and connections with Buddhist traditions are often conveyed through his music, providing him with a natural following in the east, especially in Japan whose population is 94% Buddhist.

It seems a simple choice then that Harvey was embraced as the ‘themed’ composer for Toyko’s International Program for Music Composition in August 2010.  His ensemble repertoire was first on the roster, performed at Toyko’s Suntory Hall on 26 August, in a concert featuring his 'String Quartet No 4', 'Hidden Voice II' plus his latest ensemble work 'Sringara Chaconne'.  The concert was performed by string quartet Quatro Piacerri and members from the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra.

The centre-piece of these celebrations was the commission from Suntory Hall’s, ‘Music for Today 2’ Summer Festival, for an orchestral work.  For this Harvey produced '80 Breaths for Tokyo', which was presented by the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra under Ryusake Numajiri on 30 August, in a programme which also included his striking orchestral work 'Body Mandala'. Harvey explains his ideas for this new work:
“Breathing, in one form or another, is behind all music. However distant, breathing always has a relationship to music. Yoga students use it to master the body, Buddhists to master the mind, and therapies of all sorts realise that one must step back from one’s habitual ignoring of the act of breathing in order to become more deeply aware. When a large body of people breathe in synchrony the effect is ritualistic, whether it be sacred or a political demonstration. Neurologists are finding powerful neuronal synchrony in many human rites and social events.  80 Breaths for Tokyo is partly the result of the practice of Zen breathing, and partly the result of listening to slow music and enjoying its power over the mind and body. The orchestra somehow mirrors the infinitely variable, infinitely subtle and coloured ambiguity of breath.”

 

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