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Jonathan Harvey: Speakings CD

3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Audio CD, CD, 9 May 2011
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Product details

  • Orchestra: BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Volkov
  • Composer: Jonathan Harvey
  • Audio CD (9 May 2011)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Aeon
  • ASIN: B003H2E3A6
  • Other Editions: Audio CD |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 372,274 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Scena for Violin and Ensemble - Elizabeth Layton/BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
  2. Jubilus for Viola and Ensemble - Scott Dickinson/BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
  3. Speakings for Large Orchestra and Electronics - BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

Product description


Plainchant, Buddhist ritual and magical electronics variously permeate the three works here, written by Harvey between 1992 and 2008. They all centre around the idea of a voice, but without using a singer. Scena is like an abstract opera, heard through layers of mysterious sound: the pianist, one of a small ensemble including harp and guitar, sometimes uses a weighted ping-pong ball, and the diva herself is a rhapsodic solo violin. Jubilus, for viola and ensemble, draws on Harvey's fascination with Tibetan ritual chant, and Speakings explores the evolution of speech through timbre and texture. As ever with Harvey, the results are both calming and vital. --Fiona Maddocks, The Observer, July, 2010

All three works on this disc are developments from other pieces. They speak of Harvey s vivid aural imagination: he conceives music not as series of notes, but as fluid soundscapes. The most substantial is Speakings, partly derived from Harvey s Sprechgesang. The orchestra s phrases reflect the rises and falls of human speech, while human sounds, from a baby s cry to Paul Scofield reading TS Eliot, are subject to complex manipulations by computer in the score s electronic strand. Under Volkov, precise and committed, all the playing is excellent. --Stephen Pettitt , Sunday Times, July 2010

A modern masterpiece is finally set down on disc. No experience in contemporary music has so bewitched and bewildered me as sitting in Glasgow s City Hall a few years ago listening, utterly enthralled, as Jonathan Harvey s Speakings received its Scottish premiere performance. Ilan Volkov conducted the BBC SSO, while the geniuses of Ircam, the renowned French acoustic institute, worked their computerised magic on Harvey s mesmerising score, giving the orchestra the appearance of near-vocalising. The hall itself seemed to be a living organism, breathing and speaking with the orchestra. Though the eagerly awaited recording does not and cannot replicate the sheer sense of space of that experience, the trajectory of this great piece, ultimately a work of profound contemplation, is totally lucid, with its wonderful central climax, its mantra-like chant, and a coda that drifts away weightlessly to another world. One of the great monuments of contemporary music from one of the most gentle, wise, thoughtful and serene characters with whom it has been my great pleasure to speak and learn. --Scottish Herald Sept 2010

Customer reviews

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on 6 August 2011
Format: Audio CD
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Most helpful customer reviews on 3.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews
2 people found this helpful.
3.0 out of 5 starsTwo string concertos and a major electro-acoustic work
on 6 July 2011 - Published on
Format: Audio CD|Verified Purchase
One person found this helpful.
3.0 out of 5 starsThree ensemble works inspired by the rhythms of speech, but not a standout Harvey recording
on 7 July 2012 - Published on
Format: Audio CD

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