On 14 August Paul Archibald performed Jonathan Harvey’s Other Presences for trumpet and electronics at the Dartington International Summer School and Festival, as part of a programme of virtuosic brass music.
Other Presences reflects the centrality of Buddhism to Harvey’s creative output. The piece evokes the open-air ceremonial music used in Tibetan Buddhist rituals of purification, which Harvey witnessed when visiting monasteries around Rajpur in India. In the 10-minute piece trumpet melodies are looped and harmonised in real time, giving the impression, in Harvey’s words, that “the trumpet is multiplied and becomes present invisibly at other points in space.” Harvey employs similar trumpet writing to that of Other Presences in the opening of his 2006 orchestral work Body Mandala.
Paul Archibald recorded Other Presences in 2012 with Sound Intermedia as part of an NMC disc that included versions of Ricercare una melodia for oboe and cello and Harvey’s Bird concerto with Pianosong. It was also recorded by Markus Stockhausen, who premiered the piece in 2006 at the Cheltenham Music Festival on a disc featuring a remix of the piece by Jonathan’s daughter Anna Harvey.
A 2016 celebration of Harvey’s music from Martyn Brabbins and the BBC Singers borrowed its title from the work, which was performed at LSO St. Luke’s by Marco Blaauw. Other Presences has also been played at the Camden Roundhouse by Stockhausen as part of the BBC Electric Proms (2006) and at London’s Café OTO by Alistair Mackie, where it opened Kammer Klang’s 2017-18 series.