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Jonathan Harvey

The Angels, Ashes Dances Back, Marahi & The Summer Cloud's Awakening

Jonathan Harvey & Carl Faia (electronics), Clive Williamson (synthesizer),
Ilona Meija (flute) & Arne Deforce (cello)

Latvian Radio Choir
/James Wood/Kaspars Putninš

Hyperion: CDA67835

This is a hugely important disc, one to hear and absorb, not read about...

The music is as complex as it gets, but as superbly realised as it is imagined. All but expatriate, the English composer Jonathan Harvey (b. 1939) is played widely and revered in Europe, in UK not as much as he deserves .

These choral works of 1994-2001 (also involving electronics and instruments) have a vast range of sources translated into music of transcendental aspiration and, I believe, achievement. The four-page (in small print) analysis by Michael Downes ought to be published for easier reading on Hyperion's website.

Indescribable music, recommended as essential listening alogside Harvey's orchestral Speakings, for people who live in the wide world of today, not just in the European past.

Peter Grahame Woolf

Harvey's music - ecstatic, inspired, filled now with contemplative rapture, then suddenly with exuberant, joyful dance, and always beautiful - has long stirred me. [Andrew Porter, 1999]

Philippe Manoury: Inharmonies

Fragments d'Héraclite
Trakl Gedichte

Accentus/Laurence Equilbey

Naive 5217

This is a frustrating disc because although text are supplied in three language with parallel translations, they are almost completely indecipherable for the listener trying to follow Philippe Manoury's musical thinking, and are not much clearer on repetition, even with a timer to show you more or less where you should be...

The texts themselves, Heraclitus, Langer & Trakl, are fascinating and surely meant to be heard?

But the music is amazing and the choir sounds as if it can confidently meet Manoury's requirements, with the aid of an electronic tuner "which enables singers to produce sounds of a precision beond the capacities of the human ear..."

It is all of a mind-boggling yet exilarating complexity; perhaps a first step to comprehension would be to have track timings to the individual verses, so that those of us who are lost can regain kwhere we should be.

Maybe the BBC Chorus should have a go at some of these pieces?

If I find any positive reviews, I will happily add links to them.

Peter Grahame Woolf