Jonathan Harvey Project

Project Description

Madonna of Winter and Spring is a musical work by the late British composer Jonathan Harvey. It was composed in 1986 and featured full orchestra,Yamaha TX816 for synthesis, a DX1 for controlling the TX816, and an E-mu II sampler for sample playback. These technologies are now near-obsolete and their use entails substantial additional performance costs in terms of equipment hire and setup time. Using old technology also poses reliability problems.

Between 2005 and 2011 the Integra Lab worked on a project to update the electronic elements of the work so that it can be performed using standard modern computers and controllers. This resulted in a fully updated, free and open source system, provided to the publisher, Faber Music in 2011. This enabled the subsequent performance of the work at London’s Barbican Centre in January 2012 by the BBC Symphony Orchestra as part of their Total Immersion series and broadcast to a worldwide audience on BBC Radio 3’s `Hear and Now’ programme. The performance received critical acclaim, with the Classical Source referring to the work as a ‘welcome revival’ with the digitally emulated electronics sounding ‘of their time’. The Senior New Music Editor of Faber Music  cites the project as providing ‘far-reaching benefits for publishers (and audiences) by rescuing works that cannot be performed due to technological obsolescence and ensuring the long-term sustainability of live electronics.’

Other works to be updated by the lab include Valley of Aosta at Birmingham’s Adrian Boult Hall in March 2009, and From Silence performed in March 2015 as part of Birmingham Conservatoire’s Frontiers festival.

Project Details
  • Client - Birmingham Conservatoire
  • Date - 2005–2012