Jonathan Harvey (b1939) (a chorister at St Michael's College, Tenbury, between 1949 and 1952) has been inspired by many composers and theorists: Erwin Stein, Hans Keller, Schoenberg, Babbit, Schenke, Britten, Tippett and Maxwell Davies. In his early career Harvey embraced a wide range of styles; he is not bound by a stifling artistic credo and is still able to respond to a commission in a variety of ways. Harvey has also written for the electro-acoustic medium where there are few constraints on technique as there are with physical performance. Harvey has been quick to recognise that in order to establish a place in any repertoire, music cannot constantly push performance technique to the limit. Such music is often performed only a handful of times. That is not to say that the present work, I love the Lord
, is not without its technical demands, but it is sufficiently approachable to have established itself firmly in the choral repertoire.
I love the Lord was written for Martin Neary and the Choir of Winchester Cathedral and was completed in July 1976. It is scored for 8-part choir and five soloists. At the outset, three of the soloists sing a chord of G major to the words 'I love the Lord'. The chorus symbolically superimpose their own chord (initially the same chord of G major) sung at different times, before they deviate from it in classic bitonality—to stunning effect. Thereafter, following two impassioned pleas, the harmony grows in complexity, the soloists being more insistent with the constancy of their text. Following a section in more restrained mood (at the words `return unto thy rest'), and a final impassioned repetition of the opening text, the chorus and soloists join together in a sonorous chord of G major before the final mysterious cadence.
from notes by William McVicker © 1994