Messages

(2007)

by Jonathan Harvey

Description
SATB chorus and orchestra
Duration
25
Genres
Orchestral, Chorus with Orchestra/Large Ensemble
Text
Angel Names
Instrumentation
3(III=picc & alt fl).3(III=ca).3(III=bcl).2 - 4331 - perc(5): player 1: 3 bowls/2 wdbl/3 tpl.bl/2 bongos/large BD, player 2: large crot/2 susp.cym, player 3: glsp/large tam-t, player 4: 3 bowls/susp.cym, player 5: t.bells/medium tam-t/susp.cym - cel - cimbalom - piano - 2 harp - strings
Commission

Commissioned by the Rundfunkchor Berlin and its Chief Conductor, Simon Halsey (Commissioner I) and Fundación Patronata de la Semana de Musica Religiosa de Cuenca (Commissioner II)

First Performance
29.3.08, Philharmonie, Herbert-von-Karajan Strasse, Berlin, Germany: Rundfunkchor Berlin/Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra/Reinbert de Leeuw
Availability

Score and parts for hire

Programme Notes
Commissioned by the Rundfunkchor Berlin and its Chief Conductor, Simon Halsey (Commissioner I) and Fundación Patronata de la Semana de Musica Religiosa de Cuenca (Commissioner II). The text of Messages consists entirely of the names of Judaic and Persian angels. The choir can be thought to invoke angels, as in the great Renaissance and Baroque pictures of angel choirs, many of whom not only sing, but play Baroque instruments. Equally the choir can be imagined as being angels, bringing their spiritual messages to mankind. There is an echo of late Renaissance/early Baroque instrumental style to be heard in the opening 'continuo' flourish. The nine hierarchies angels are situated in the seven heavens, the seventh where the throne of God is usually said to reside, according to tradition. The music moves through the seven heavens in order. In the second heaven, St. Paul's comment in the Letter to the Hebrews (1:7) " He maketh the winds his angels" is allowed to suggest a musical closeness to this force of nature, and to the invisible mobility of angelic beings. In the fifth heaven distant brass call to each other from 'outer space', mirroring the role of several angels who 'announce' with trumpets. Jonathan Harvey

Licensing Information

News & Reviews

Message on 'Messages'!

The Huddersfield Choral Society, conducted by Joseph Cullen, gave the eagerly-awaited UK premiere of Jonathan Harvey’s 'Messages' on 1 April 2011. Read more

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