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Harvey - Madonna of Winter and Spring; Percussion Concerto; Song Offerings;

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Frequently Bought Together

Harvey - Madonna of Winter and Spring; Percussion Concerto; Song Offerings; + Harvey: Body Mandala, Timepieces, Tranquil Abiding, White As Jasmine ...Towards A Pure Land + Harvey: the Angels/ Ashes Danc
Price For All Three: £38.63

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Product details

  • Orchestra: Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, London Sinfonietta
  • Conductor: Peter Eötvös, George Benjamin
  • Composer: Jonathan Dean Harvey
  • Audio CD (1 Oct 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nimbus Alliance
  • ASIN: B00004TYQS
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 186,029 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song TitleArtist Time Price
Listen  1. Madonna Of Winter And Spring: ConflictNetherlands Radio Philharmonic 7:46£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Madonna Of Winter And Spring: DescentNetherlands Radio Philharmonic 6:02£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Madonna Of Winter And Spring: DepthsNetherlands Radio Philharmonic 4:36£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Madonna Of Winter And Spring: MaryNetherlands Radio Philharmonic17:27Album Only
Listen  5. Percussion Concerto: INetherlands Radio Philharmonic13:14Album Only
Listen  6. Percussion Concerto: IINetherlands Radio Philharmonic 4:39£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Percussion Concerto: IIINetherlands Radio Philharmonic 5:26£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Song Offerings: First SongLondon Sinfonietta 2:37£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Song Offerings: Second SongLondon Sinfonietta 2:37£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Song Offerings: Third SongLondon Sinfonietta 5:46£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen11. Song Offerings: Fourth SongLondon Sinfonietta 7:29£0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Description

Jonathan Harvey (born 1939) is one of the most exciting living British composers. This disc presents three contrasted works that exemplify his seemingly endless invention. Christian religion has long been a recurrent feature in his music and Madonna of Winter and Spring is Harvey's tribute to the Virgin Mary. Nimbus' crystal-clear recording highlights the glacial textures, themselves emphasised by the addition of two synthesisers to the instrumental ensemble. Harvey's grasp of sonority means he can summon up a deeply meditative state in the third movement, which leads to the ethereal, serene tribute to Mary which makes up the extended final movement. The Percussion Concerto (premiered by Evelyn Glennie, here with Peter Pommel as soloist), benefits from being a live recording: the excitement of the third movement is spellbinding, coupled with an accuracy that is hard to believe. Finally, Nimbus has reissued Penelope Walmsley-Clark's account of Song Offerings, settings in English of love poems by Tagore. The voice is very much part of the ensemble, which adds to the mystical intensity of the experience. This issue is the ideal starting-point from which to explore the hypnotic beauty of Harvey's music. --Colin Clarke

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By G Capra on 4 Jan 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Being one of my mentors at University, Harvey's music has long held a special place in my affections. Although I am not a huge fan of electronics in 'classical' music if anyone does it with style and integrity it is Harvey. He was certainly one Britain's most individual composers since Britten.
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Kolarzowski on 23 Jan 2011
Format: Audio CD
Harvey - Madonna of Winter and Spring; Percussion ... is very excited. This music use a very large resources of sounds. Harvey is a anthroposophy and in his music there are more pantheistic motives.
He is a height contemporary classics and show fullness inspirations all over the cultures.
This record contain very spiritualistic music. Grate Britain hadn't so interesting composure ftom Benjamin Britten.
J.J. Kolarzowski
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Fine works, but poor sound quality in one piece is regrettable 1 Feb 2011
By Christopher Culver - Published on
Format: Audio CD
The English composer Jonathan Harvey has developed a distinctive style that reconciles seeming opposites: modernism and ancient mysticism, spectralism and serialism. This Nimbus disc, released in 2000, features three works that display the composer's more busy, active side.

The "Song Offerings" for soprano and 8 instruments (1985) sets four poems by Rabindranath Tagore in the Bengali poet's own English translation. Here it is performed by the London Sinfonietta conducted by George Benjamin. With a text centered around female voices narrating love, this work has some of the most straightforwardly melodic writing and white-hot passion in Harvey's career. Unfortunately, this is a poor recording and Penelope Walmsley-Clarke's voice is distant, especially at the climax of the work which in better sound would be staggeringly powerful.

Harvey's biggest work of the 1980s was "Madonna of Winter and Spring" (1986), which combines a large orchestra with synthesizers and electronics. Programmatically the work is meant to represent the divine feminine and moves through four movements "Conflict", "Descent", "Depths" and "Mary", of which the last is as long as the first three combined. The electronics play only a supporting role, ring-modulating the orchestral sounds and providing spatialization. "Madonna of Winter and Spring" opens with extreme orchestral violence, proceeding through a range of serialist variations before concluding with the gradual establishment of harmonic stasis -- not a traditional tonal resolution, but a mysterious contemplativeness.

The latest work here is the Percussion Concerto (1997). In three-movements, it proceeds from a long and meandering introduction (13 minutes) through a curious nocturnal interlude and finally an energetic confrontation between brass and soloist. Initially I found it difficult to believe Harvey had written this, since the changing tempos and use of percussion bore a closer resemblance to late Elliott Carter than Harvey. However, the piece is revealed as squarely Harvey midway through the first movement when we hear a brief rearrangement of the electronic part of his early hit "Bhakti".

I'll cautiously give this four stars since the music is fine, but this disc would be a lot stronger if only "Song Offerings" were in better sound. Harvey neophytes would do well to seek out "Bhakti" (on Naive/Montaigne) and his classic tape piece "Mortuos plango, vivos voco"). Still, "Madonna" is one of his major works, so fans should come to this disc eventually.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Beautiful mysticism: an update of Messiaen like no other 5 Jun 2010
By mianfei - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Jonathan Harvey is the most notable Briton in the field of modern classical music and one of the few Britons to establish himself in this field. He has garnered a reputation for his innovations in the use of electronics in classical music, but there is a great deal more to Harvey's work than its electronics. There is a great deal of quiet, yet deeply beautiful, even mystical, string arrangements and some simple, yet more effective for it, vocal parts.

These aspects come clearly through on "Madonna of Winter and Spring". Its shimmering quiet and beauty is, as "scarecrow" points out, designed to represent the soft and yielding influence of Mary, Mother of Jesus. it does so exceptionally well when one listens carefully, especially in the stunningly beautiful second portion that has some of the softest, yet most emotionally deep, strings you are likely to hear. Messiaen may have pioneered the basic style, but Harvey takes it further in the logical direction of Messiaen's religious associations than the older composer ever did. The piano, too, moves beyond early Messiaen in its simplicity. The third movement of "Madonna of Winter and Spring" is not so soft but is sparser and even more emotionally deep, whilst the epic seventeen-minute-long fourth movement returns to the beautifully soft tone of the second.

"Percussion Concerto" is different from "Madonna of Winter and Spring" in that the strings are not so quiet, but the melodicism of the work is amazing and the tones of the percussion stand out extremely well in the recording, especially when they are allowed to produce some simple yet beautiful solo parts. There is also some beautiful horn parts that flow superbly with the base of the piece.

The four "Song Offerings" are eerie, simple yet - unusually for classical singing - even comprehensible. The sparse yet solid style of Penelope Walmsley-Clark does a great deal for the songs, which at times almost resemble reading the most fantastic poetry possible. The shimmering accompaniment adds further to this characteristic of the "Offerings". "Second Song" is a little less downbeat than the dark "First Song" but still fits it very well. the lyrics here sound like tortured romantic tales, and the simple percussion is a wonderful fit to the material overall. "Third Song" is really sad and solemn, and turns into more typical (and not so good) classical singing after the first couple of minutes. This is repeated more or less of album-closer "Fourth Song".

Despite the slight drop on the last two tracks, this is a most impressive collection of touching mystical beauty and deep, quiet emotion. Harvey was later to move to Eastern spirituality with such works as Body Mandala, but here he shows his debits to Messiaen and his skill in taking that influence further and further.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
somewhat disappointing, Harvey should write through-composed 10 Oct 2000
By scarecrow - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Madonna of Winter and Spring was composed in honour of Mary,mother of Jesus. The piece the jacket notes inform portrays the action of her soft,yielding influence of forces which are assertive,brutal and despondent,but her "touch" is felt from time to time. Such deep liturgical associations is a rarity now,Harvey seems deeply committed to the spirit world,of images from Catholicism,his music predictably enough does resemble Messiaen,with its brilliant sense of orchestration, the stop=go gestures, the complex webs of wind filigree moments,the metal bell timbres,are all DNA residues of both creators. Conflict,is very similar to much of what I've heard emanating from IRCAM, Eotvos, Dufourt, Grisey, Murail, and Boulez which I suspect is the hidden fountain,a musical resevoir. The first movment here Conflict has this stop,go action,deeply angular,thorny,brutal at times not until we get to Descent,does the real Harvey reveal himself. There we find a continuously sustained sonority deeply attenuated, shaped, allowing the density to disperse,to calm itself to accelerate,to glow and spin. He is brilliant in his mixtures,joining the acoustic world with electronic sounds,an aspect of contemnporary expression which no one ever resolved with any degree of conviction. The electronics here deeply mate with the acoustic world and the winds cohere to it,like a glowing magnetic web of sound,somewhat cold,swirling,again the timbral association as a staple product of IRCAM is unmistakable. Well Harvey worked in this underground mecca for new music creation in Paris throughout the Eighties.Peter Eotvos with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic play seemlessly,Eotvos has admirably mounted Boulez's revered place as reader/conductor of this music. He has the vision and sensitivity to the timbral transformations. The percussion concerto has fascinating features as well,the marimba seems to be the dominant solo voice here,well suited and the marimba is constituted with a large pallette of sound and diversity,even though its timbre is one-dimensional,but I had wished Harvey would structure his creations around through-composed works, the movement divisions I found don't really help the listener decipher his aesthetic strategy. Harvey's timbral imagination seems to fly away into heightened states when he doesn't divide and break his music. Here I thought this concerto would have been all the more powerful without divisions. Harvey's music doesn't have large contrast,to distimguish itself from movement to movement. The movements cannot be defined as self-contained,at least from the listener's perspective. The Songs Offerings did do that,,self-contained discreet songs,yet there remained a timbral similarity between the four songs here admirably delivered by Penelope Walmsley-clark,soprano who is well versed in this music.The timbres here are gorgeous percussion,piano bells,fast mists of sound which do not disrupt the vocalist.The text is delivered in a kind of sing song way,phrases which Sir Edward Elgar could have written.There wasn't a free sense of the voice as a temptress inhabiting itself over the beautiful timbral fields. In the songs we have now the London Sinfonietta under the direction of composer George Benjamin,who knows Harvey's music quite well.
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