JONATHAN HARVEY (b.1939): Bird Concerto with Pianosong for Piano and Orchestra (Hidéki Nagano [piano], London Sinfonietta; David Atherton), Ricercare una melodia for Oboe and Live Electronics and for Cello and Live Electronics (Gareth Hulse [oboe], Tim Gill [cello]), Other Presences for Trumpet and Live Electronics (Paul Archibald [trumpet]).
Catalogue Number: 02N075
Reference: D 177
Description: The Bird Concerto is what it sounds like - an integration of birdsong into a work of concert music. Utilising the capabilities of electronic sampling and sound diffusion available a decade after Messiaen's death, in the hands of a leading practitioner of real-time electronics in performance, the piece uses actual birdsong recordings, triggered by the piano soloist, to produce a kind of latter-day Oiseaux exotiques, with much the same aim - to celebrate nature's virtuoso singers as an embodiment of the spiritual. The piano duets with the recorded birds, and the music is alternately exuberantly dancelike and densely textural. The works for solo instrument and electronics display Harvey's ongoing development of live electronics as an integral part of the musicians' performance; the two versions of Ricercare treat the material similarly, with canonic overlapping of material, shifted in pitch in the work's later stages to provide an underpinning bass line, while differing in the technical means used to produce the effects. Other Presences is much more recent, and places all the sampled material under the player's own control, with many more 'voices' played in loops controlled by a keyboard and projected over speakers. Sound Intermedia (live electronics).