British composer Jonathan Harvey dies at 73

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 6, 2012 at 9:54 am •  Published: December 6, 2012
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LONDON (AP) — Jonathan Harvey, a British modernist composer whose operas and other works reflected a deep engagement with spirituality, has died at age 73.

Faber Music, which published many of Harvey's compositions, said he died Tuesday. He had suffered from motor neuron disease.

"The spirituality of his music also pervaded his personality. No one who met him came away without commenting on his gentleness, generosity and breadth of imagination," said Sally Cavender, vice-chairman of Faber Music.

Harvey developed his style in the 1980s working at Pierre Boulez's Institute for Research and Coordination in Acoustics and Music in Paris. Fruits of that work included "Mortuous Plango, Vivos Voco," an experimental composition using eight-track tape to contrast the tenor bell at Winchester Cathedral and the voice of his son, and his fourth string quartet featuring live electronics.

Harvey's compositions have been featured at the BBC Proms in London and the BBC Scottish Symphony. His operas include "Inquest of Love" for the English National Opera and "Wagner Dream" for the Dutch Opera.

One of his last works was "Weltethos" for orchestra and chorus, which celebrated Buddhism, Confucianism, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and Christianity. It had its premiere performance at the Berlin Philharmonic last year.

He also wrote more conventional choral music for Christian worship, including "Remember Oh Lord" which was performed in Westminster Abbey at a celebration for the 50th anniversary of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

"I'd like music to speak of, to herald and to prophesy a better world, less entangled with personal egoistic emotions," Harvey said in a 1999 interview for Classic CD magazine.

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