On 26 February vocal ensemble Les Métaboles released a new disc ‘The Angels’ centred around the choral music of Jonathan Harvey, on the label NoMadMusic, with Léo Warynski conducting. There are seven Harvey works in all: I Love the Lord, Come, Holy Ghost, Plainsongs for Peace and Light, Remember, O Lord, The Annunciation, The Angels, which are accompanied by works of Byrd, Purcell and Palestrina. This marks the premiere recordings for both Remember, O Lord and Harvey’s last-composed work, Plainsongs for Peace and Light.
The disc is modelled after a Les Métaboles concert from September 2019 at Royaumont Abbey, and has since been performed again in an online setting on 25 March this year. This recent performance is still available to view online here.
“Plainsongs for Peace and Light (2012), a late work by this modern mystic, develops a plainchant that flowers into polyphony: the 16 soloists surmount the hard tests with panache, evoking the sprouting, climbing tendrils of a liana. With Come, Holy Ghost (1984), which quotes the Gregorian chant Veni Creator, makes the dove of the Holy Spirit shine through expressive glissandi. Flooded with light, I Love the Lord (1976) is stirring and rhythmic like a contemporary Spiritual. Finally, The Angels (1994) with their uneasy, tense and swirling, appearance and with an ‘intelligence old as sunrise’ but very much alive, crown the disc.”
Diapason (Benoît Fauchet), April 2021
This release coincides with two exciting Harvey performances this month. On 19 March, Trondheim Sinfonietta conducted by Christian Eggen performed the seminal work for electronics and ensemble, Bhakti, at Dokkhuset, Trondheim – the first Norwegian performance since 1999; and on 28 March, cellist Adrian Brendel gave an online recital that included Curve with Plateaux as part of the Cellissimo festival.
Brendel’s recital is available to view here until 4 April