Jonathan Harvey (1939-2012) was a dear friend of the JCS and one of our first Vice Presidents. We are delighted to be singing two of his works again in our concert ‘Sing to the Lord’ on 21 March.
In I love the Lord, he set words from Psalm 116 in a powerful a cappella piece that has become a great favourite of Church and Cathedral choirs.
His Forms of Emptiness is a wonderfully imaginative work, taking texts from the Buddhist Heart Sutra, both chanted and spoken, contrasted with words from poems by E. E. Cummings set for three choirs. These often sing independently and produce a great climax as every singer chooses the speed and numbers of repetitions of the written phrase, slowly quietening towards the closing passage and the return of the chanted Sutra.
Jonathan was born in Sutton Coldfield, and studied at St John’s College, Cambridge. In 1969 he took up a Harkness Fellowship at Princeton University. In the 1980s Harvey produced much music at IRCAM (Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique, or Institute for Research and Coordination in Acoustics/Music) in Paris, after receiving an invitation from Pierre Boulez to work there. From 2005 to 2008, he held the post of Composer in Association with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and in 2009 he was Composer in Residence at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival.
Do come and hear the JCS perform these pieces – as well as works by JS Bach and Kerry Andrew – in the sonorous acoustics of St James’s Church, Sussex Gardens. Visit our ‘Performances’ page for more details and ticket information.