Jonathan Harvey: HCMF Focus 2009

Jonathan Harvey: HCMF Focus 2009

The Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival this November 2009 presented a comprehensive profile of Jonathan Harvey’s work including the UK premiere of Sringara Chaconne, performed by Cologne-based ensemble musikFabrik. 

Other works in the survey included pieces written for chamber, choral, electronic and multi-media forces, presented by some of the foremost British and European ensembles and artists – the Arditti Quartet, New London Chamber Choir, London Sinfonietta and Re-Mix Ensemble, plus a dedicated concert of Harvey’s works for solo piano, by Dutch virtuoso pianist Ralph van Raat. Harvey’s quintessential tape piece Mortuos Plango (1980) was presented as a multi-media installation at the festival by video artists Visual Kitchen. The Festival also offered a series of talks and open workshops in which Harvey himself was centrally involved; related film events recently included the world premiere of a new film on Jonathan Harvey by Barrie Gavin, titled Towards and Beyond. 

Click Here for more information on the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival.


‘An online poll recently guessed whose music would still be played 50 years on...I would put Harvey high on the list.
...Beneath the compelling ebb and flow, his music has a stillness and non-specific spirituality which feed mind and spirit.  His String Quartet No. 4, impeccably played by the Ardittis with real-time electronics and spatial adventure, unites old techniques and new.  After the few million notes heard over the past seven days, this is the work that shines on.’
The Observer (Fiona Maddocks), 29 November 2009

‘... There was a Harvey UK premiere in musikFabrik's concert – his Sringara Chaconne, full of ravishing, glittering textures conjured from the simplest sequence of chords...’
The Guardian (Andrew Clements), 30 November 2009

‘...In him, modern music’s anger finds a reliable route to radiance, as his String Quartet No. 4, a 36-minute span enshrining real-time electronics, movingly demonstrated.’
The Sunday Times (Paul Driver), 29 November 2009

More information about ‘Towards and Beyond’… Harvey is of course unusual in that the source of his music is avowedly spiritual and metaphysical. This film seeks to explore his musical and philosophical world by means of a journey outwards from his own thoughts and from his actual workroom. The portait works through a series of metaphors and analogies. Some of them derive from the landscape of southern England where he lives. Others range far in time, space and history – Christian and Buddhist imagery, electronic manipulation, even views from the Hubble telescope in space. The journey of the film is by necessity provisional, marking the develepment of his music so far.