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Richard Harvey (b.1953): Plague & The Moonflowers, oratory / New London Children's Choir, Oxford Choir of New College, English Chamber Choir, Ronald Corp

Album Summary

>Harvey, Richard : Plague and the moonflower, oratorio
Performers Conductor Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Narrated by Academy AwardŽ-winning actor Ben Kingsley, and featuring the voice talents of Academy AwardŽ nominee Ian Holm (Lord of the Rings) and venerable actress Penelope Wilton ("Downton Abbey"), Richard Harvey's oratorio Plague and the Moonflowers draws us inside a world uneasy with itself, trembling on the brink of the millennium and haunted by muddled dreams and somber fears. Commissioned by Richard Gregson-Williams in 1989 for the Exeter Festival, and previously only available as an import, this CD and the rest of the Altus catalog are now available through Allegro Classical in the U.S.

Altus Records is the label of composer Richard Harvey, a graduate of the Royal College of Music whose passion for musical instruments from around the world has led him to work on an extraordinary range of composing projects, from Hollywood movies to TV dramas and documentaries. As a performer, he was a founder of the mediaeval rock band Gryphon and has been a long-time collaborator with John Williams. His skills as multi-instrumentalist and conductor are often called upon for feature films, including Disney's The Lion King and several of the Harry Potter films.

Plague and the Moonflower draws us inside a world uneasy with itself, trembling on the brink of the millennium and haunted by muddled dreams and sombre fears. All around, there is evidence of rivers and oceans soured, lands blighted and a creation sapped and tainted by the Plague Demon, the dark and grasping side of man's flawed nature. As the Plague Demon turns his attention to the lush, fragile forests of the Amazon, Nature's last refuge from human greed and lust for progress, a transformation occurs. Suddenly unexpectedly, he sees and falls in love with the Moonflower, the strange, magical cactus that flowers just once a years, drawn into bloom by the moonlight. The beautiful, frail plant survives in the deep rainforest - a powerful icon of purity and love, but ambiguous too, for it is a parasite, stealing its strength from other plants. The Plague Demon changes his tune, redeemed by love, and the ethereal song of the Moonflower soars away in an ecstasy of life, a miracle of resilience and mystery.


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Works Details

>Harvey, Richard : Plague and the moonflower, oratorio
  • Performers: Roger Chase (Viola); Ian Holm (Voice); Penelope Wilton (Voice); Richard Studt (Violin); John Williams (Guitar)
  • Conductor: Ronald Corp
  • Ensemble: English Chamber Choir
  • Running Time: 3 min. 8 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Cantata/Oratorio
  • Written: 1989