Tranquil Abiding for chamber orchestra, premiered in 1999, draws on Harvey’s longstanding fascination with Buddhism, and the moods of stillness and reflection conjured in his music. The title describes a state of deeply focused concentration, sustained across the work by a simple ‘breathing’ motif that begins in the depths of the orchestra, and lent ceremonial gravitas by gongs, bowls, and bells. This 14-minute work is brought to a striking conclusion with rattling bamboo clusters in the orchestra.
‘Tranquil Abiding was a haunting meditation on a single musical idea. A simple, rocking melody was overlaid with opulent flashes of woodwind writing.’
The Guardian (Tom Service), 12 October 2001