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Jonathan HARVEY (b. 1939)
Curve with Plateaux (1982) [12:17]
Advaya (1994)a [22:20]
Arne DEFORCE (b. 1962)
Limen (2000) [22:19]
Riti (2000) [20:18]
Arne Deforce (cello); Yutaka Oya (keyboard); Jonathan Harvey  and CRFMW (electronics)a
rec. Concertgebouw, Brugge, Belgium, July and September 2004 (Harvey) and (live) La Font Sainte Auvergne, France, November 2000 (Deforce)
MEGADISC MDC 7806 [77:23]

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Jonathan Harvey’s close working association with the likes of Frances-Marie Uitti and Arne Deforce who champion his cello music with impeccable musicality and faultless technique, has led to the writing of several substantial scores. These include the splendid Cello Concerto (1990) dedicated to Uitti and Advaya (1994). However, Curve with Plateaux of 1982 is one of Harvey’s earliest pieces for cello. The title aptly describes the form of this free fantasy for solo cello, in which the music moves in curves up and down, pausing at various points. Advaya for cello, keyboard (sampler) and electronics is a commission from IRCAM in Paris. Advaya is a Buddhist term for non-duality “... the dominating wedge-shape which always leads outer pitches back to the central A of the A-string is a symbol of unity” (Jonathan Harvey). The music is anchored on A (a letter much present in the title of the piece AdvAyA). Electronically processed cello sounds are played back either on CD or sampler keyboard to provide a ‘sound-carpet’ over which the cello’s line freely unfolds. This substantial work may be experienced as a full-scale cello concerto in all but name, albeit one without orchestra. As such, it may be compared with Harvey’s earlier Cello Concerto. The cello part is awfully taxing and makes lavish use of every modern playing technique, but always with a clear expressive aim. Harvey’s music may be complex at times; but it never fails to communicate. Advaya is no exception; and a full mastery in blending live instrumental sounds and electronics is again evident from first to last. This is a marvellous work that generously repays repeated hearings.

Arne Deforce describes his two pieces as “composed improvisations”. They were recorded ‘live’ on a “stormy night” of November 2000. Both explore and exploit the technical and expressive range of the cello in a really stunning and dazzling manner; but there is nothing gratuitous in the proceedings. Both are superbly done, although a bit too long for some tastes. I enjoyed them enormously. The dark-hued, ruminative Riti (to the memory of Giacinto Scelsi) is – to my mind – particularly impressive and gripping in musical terms.

Arne Deforce’s immaculate playing and committed musicality are simply stunning. I can understand why Harvey has such a high regard for his achievement. He navigates almost effortlessly through the innumerable difficulties of these scores in a most dazzling manner, but always with a clear view of the overall shape.

This very fine and generously filled disc is a well deserved tribute to Deforce’s artistry. It is also a rewarding musical experience thanks to the Harvey’s pieces and Deforce’s improvisations, and particularly Riti. There is much substantial music on display here as well as some superb music making.

Hubert Culot






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