Jonathan Harvey’s large-scale orchestral work …towards a pure land will be performed in Spain for the first time by the Orquesta Sinfónica de Baleares, conducted by Zsolt Nagy. Nagy replaces Matthias Pintscher, who previously conducted the piece with the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks. In conducting it Nagy joins Ryan Bancroft, Martyn Brabbins, Peter Eötvös and Ilan Volkov, who gave the work’s premiere performance in 2005. The concert will take place at the Trui Theatre in Majorca on April 7.
Harvey’s 2006 piece draws on his deep interest in Buddhism. It features an unusual setup: a small ensemble of strings are hidden on the stage, and “stays peacefully behind the sound for most of the time.” They represent the kind of stillness and eternity that Harvey’s soundscapes often explore, with the rest of the orchestra orbiting around it, and struggling to achieve a similar reflective tranquillity over the work’s 16-minute span.
The winner of the RPS Large-Scale Composition Award in 2007, it was described by the panel as music that makes “delicate but powerfully suggestive use of unusual sonorities…the hidden string ensemble created a very beautiful metaphor for eternal harmony.”