On 28 August Jonathan Harvey’s Plainsongs of Peace and Light featured at Musikfest Berlin as part of the inaugural concert of the Bundesjugendchor directed by Anne Kohler.

Predominantly hushed and serene, this 8-minute piece proved to be Jonathan Harvey’s final work. It sees Harvey re-examining the very fundamentals of his craft – superimposing lines of plainsong, relishing the simple clash of note against note and creating rich, otherworldly sonorities through an elaborate use of canon. Harvey was a composer who always embraced and sought-out the very latest in musical technologies but the simplicity of the a cappella choir became something of a constant to which he returned throughout his life. Writing in Tempo, Paul Conway noted this work’s ‘understated but extremely affecting, numinous power’. Composed in 2012, the piece is for mixed voices of SATB in 16 parts.

View score  | Listen to a recording by Les Metaboles cond. Léo Warynski