It has been a rough fall for contemporary music, what with the passing of William Duckworth in September, Elliott Carter in November, and most recently (not counting Dave Brubeck (!)), Jonathan Harvey, a brilliant and original British composer who died last week at age 73. This week on the show we present the music, influences and echoes of these three compositional giants.
Harvey's output is as diverse as the music that influenced it. He was deeply concerned — not unlike Olivier Messiaen — with expressions of faith and spirituality in his music, himself a devoted Buddhist. But he also drew inspiration from the serial, spectral and electronic techniques developed during the heyday of the post-War avant-garde. By tapping into the spectral language of Tristan Murail, and Girard Grisey, working with Pierre Boulez at IRCAM to develop new ways of integrating electronics and acoustic instruments, and even studying with Maximalist poster boy Milton Babbitt, Harvey was able to produce a singular body of music that beautifully, seamlessly combines this wealth of influences.
In addition to Monday's homage to Harvey, we'll revisit the piano music of Elliott Carter on Wednesday, including the sensational Double Concerto for piano, harpsichord and orchestras. Friday brings music of a stylistically disparate but equally important compositional figure, the late William Duckworth, whose Time-Curve Preludes helped define what became nown as post-Miniamlism.
Rounding out the week are works by Phillip Schroeder, Morton Feldman, Kimball Gallagher, Michael Gordon and many others.