Jonathan Harvey - Body Mandala (4 stars)

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Jonathan Harvey

(NMC)

CONTEMPORARY

Jonathan Harvey was Composer in Association with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra from 2005-7, and was a central figure in the recent IRCAM weekend in Glasgow. This CD includes two compositions written in his Glasgow residency, ‘. . . towards a Pure Land’ and ‘Body Mandala’, alongside the much earlier ‘Timepieces’ and two pieces written in a similar residency in California in 1995-2000, ‘Tranquil Abiding’ and ‘White As Jasmine’, the only vocal work here (with soprano Anu Komsi).

Ilan Volkov conducts the SSO in all five, with Stefan Solyom as 2nd conductor on ‘Timepieces’. While distinct in character, they reflect developments of shared musical procedures and spiritual-philosophical preoccupations, framed in Harvey’s remarkable manipulations of musical timbre, colour and texture. Like the recent disc of chamber pieces by Glaswegian composer James Dillon on this label, the soadie waste, the music requires but also rewards open-minded attention from the listener.

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