Jonathan Harvey died earlier this week, at the age of 73, after suffering a long and terminal illness of the nervous system.
It was an invitation by Pierre Boulez to work at IRCAM in the early 1980’s that shaped and characterised Harvey’s music and career – fusing electronics with acoustic instruments as he explored new sound worlds. This can be heard in pieces like the orchestral triptych - Body Mandala (2006), …towards a pure land (2005) & Speakings (2008) – which he composed as the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra Composer in Association, or his 2006 opera Wagner Dream. Another huge influence on Harvey’s compositions was Buddhism, which he practised, and eastern spiritual philosophies.
Jonathan Harvey’s life and his music are remembered and celebrated on Music Matters this week by composer Julian Anderson, conductor Martyn Brabbins - who conducted the premiere of Harvey's last opera, Wagner Dream, and historian and friend of Harvey's, Jonathan Cross.
Franco-American conductor and harpsichordist William Christie founded the acclaimed early music group Les Arts Florissants in 1979, naming them after a short opera by Marc-Antoine Charpentier. Next week they are in London to perform Handel’s oratorio Belshazzar with a cast including Allan Clayton and Rosemary Joshua. Written in the summer of 1744 at the peak of Handel’s creative life, the composer professed ‘it engages me warmly…and has given me opportunity to express some very particular ideas’.
William Christie talks to Tom Service about his approach to Handel, the oratorio as a dramatic work, and the current perception of the early music movement.
The Royal Northern College of Music
This year sees the 40th anniversary of The Royal Northern College of Music. Formed in 1972 when the Royal Manchester College (founded by Sir Charles Hallé) merged with the Northern School of Music, it moved to its purpose-built home on Manchester’s Oxford Road in 1973. Throughout the 2012/13 season the college is celebrating its 40th birthday with a variety of different projects including RNCM in the City - 40 concerts in 40 different venues from the grand Manchester Town Hall to Salford Lads club.
Tom travels to Manchester to meet RNCM students past and present.