chamber ensemble of 11 players
Mixed Chamber Ensemble
1(=picc).1(=ca).1.1 - hn - pno - 2 vln.vla.vlc.db
Commissioned by the Nash Ensemble
First Performance
10.6.87, Wigmore Hall, London: Nash Ensemble/Lionel Friend

Score 0-571-51342-5 on sale, parts for hire

Programme Notes
Tendril (1987) is scored for eleven instruments and was commissioned and first performed by the Nash Ensemble. The work is a vivid sound portrait, which seems to assimilate into one successful fabric a number of musical influences. Perhaps the most striking feature of the work is the colourfulness of sound, the revelling in sound itself. Harvey’s experience with electronic music is evident in the kinds of musical juxtapositions he favours, in the quality of attacks and releases, and in the concentration on timbral combinations and possibilities. The musical language itself suggests that Harvey’s influences come not from the composers whom he admires but from nature itself. The opening of the piece, and many of the gestures within, sound like a primal wail, voices from the distance. The work’s onomatopoeic chirrupings and twitterings bear a kinship with both Messiaen’s bird call pieces, and the evocative scene by the brook in Berg’s Wozzeck. Tendril displays great sensitivity not only to colour but also to time. There are frequent quiet moments - in fact, the piece moves from exuberant bubbly sound to near stillness in the space of the first few minutes. Through timing and colour, Harvey has produced a greatly kinaesthetic art, a music that affects this listener in a startlingly visceral way.

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