Discovery of Heaven, The


Full Orchestra
3(III=picc & afl).3(III=ca).3 in A (II=ebcl, III=bcl).3(III=cbsn) - 4.3 (I&, III=tpt in D).3.1 - timp (4 drums = large tamb) - perc(4): glsp/crot/mar/SD/3 susp.cym/whip/string drum/vib/wood chimes/dustbin/tumba/large tamb/sleigh bells/Chinese opera gong/2 tam-t/t.bells/hyoshigi/2 sizz.cym/claves/tom-t/BD/2 tgl/2 anvils/2 miniature wdbl/very large sleigh bells/antique cymbals - hp - pno - strings

Commissioned by the London Philharmonic Orchestra (with kind support from the Boltini Trust and the Britten-Pears Foundation) and the New York Philharmonic (Alan Gilbert, Music Director)

First Performance
24.3.2012, Royal Festival Hall, London, UK: LPO/Ryan Wigglesworth

Score on sale (HPOD1012)

Score and parts for hire

Programme Notes

Co-commissioned by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and the London Philharmonic Orchestra as part of my Composer in Residence post with them. The LPO give the premiere under Ryan Wigglesworth in the Royal Festival Hall on 24th March 2012, and a recording of the performance will be released on the LPO label. It is a three movement work inspired by the novel of the same name by the Dutch writer Harry Mulisch. Other influences on the piece include the music of Japanese Gagaku (or Court Music) which dates from 9th century AD, and the music of Janacek. The first movement, ‘An Echo from Heaven’, is extremely slow, almost motionless. Its textures were partly prompted by the acoustic analysis of Gagaku, especially the Japanese mouth organ called ‘sho’. The second movement, called ‘In the Street’, is an increasingly rowdy set of street parades, demonstrations and dances which, just as it threatens to get totally out of hand, topples over into the third movement, ‘Hymns.’ This pits two types of music against each other: very long and lyrical melodic lines, mainly on brass; and increasingly strident and disruptively raucous noises – debris from the ‘street music’ in the second movement – which attempt to stop the progress of the lyrical melodies. The more the melodies are attacked, the stronger and faster they get.

The Discovery of Heaven is dedicated to Jonathan Harvey.

Listen to a performance of the Discovery of Heaven by the New York Philharmonic under Sir Andrew Davis on Soundcloud here

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News & Reviews

Julian Anderson - 'A 21st-Century Debussy'

Julian Anderson’s reputation as a master of orchestral composition was resoundingly confirmed with the recent premiere of The Discovery of Heaven by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. The press praised Anderson’s vivid, gripping music comparing him to a modern-day Debussy. Read more

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