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Ronald E. Grames
Fanfare, May 2014

Throughout, the playing is superb, the engineering first-rate, the documentation likewise. Like their predecessors, these releases should be on the shelf of any serious classical music collector, especially one with an interest in the music of our time. © 2014 Fanfare Read complete review




Paul Corfield Godfrey
MusicWeb International, January 2014

It is to the great credit of Naxos they have over the years so assiduously re-released this extensive series of treasures.

Maxwell Davies does not attempt to make his soloist sound heroic. He also manages to sidestep the impression of the bassoon as the “clown of the orchestra” as which it is sometimes typecast. The lyrical writing for the soloist, only occasionally breaking out into more florid figurations, suits the instrument like a glove. It contrasts well with the more vigorous accompaniment with a prominent role for the timpani. Nor is audibility ever a problem…

I look forward to future bounty from the same source. © 2014 MusicWeb International Read complete review




Steve Arloff
MusicWeb International, January 2014

I well remember the first double bass concerto I heard. It was on an old vinyl disc and was by Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf (1739-1799)—he wrote three. I found it weird. It sounded artificial to me; as if it had been written merely to prove it could be done, though I’m sure that was not the case. However, there were no such thoughts going through my head when I listened to the Master of the Queen’s Music’s Strathclyde Concerto No. 7. The facility with which soloist plays is massively impressive with Duncan McTier—to whom the concerto is dedicated—making it sound easy to get round the huge instrument in a starring role when usually it is merely a chorus member. The sumptuously rich sounds that both composer and soloist coax from the instrument has it sound more like a cello at times and sometimes even close to a viola. The music is beautifully lyrical, though with its share of the mournful and the terse sections. Characteristic references appear regularly in Sir Peter’s works identifying his huge affection for his adopted country. What it shows is that though it is an instrument that is mostly confined to a ‘background’ role the double bass deserves having more composers explore its potential as a solo instrument. In the right hands it can reveal considerable beauty.

With the composer at the helm it is as authoritative as it gets and chock full of brilliant playing by both soloists and orchestra. © 2014 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, December 2013

The soloists, who do a fine job, are Duncan McTier on the double bass and Ursula Leveaux on the bassoon.

Certainly you will be treated to a side of Maxwell Davies that gives as much reward back as your attentive listening puts in. Thank you Naxos for releasing this! © 2013 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review



Ettore Garzia
Percorsi Musicali, November 2013

…The Strathclyde concerto n. 7 is dedicated to the double bass and looks like a test in progress, constantly addressed to probable events, in which the instrument plays solitary scores that are widely expressive…

…the concert is firmly in the hands of Duncan McTier that shows the potential of the double bass: despite the apparent grievous tones it is capable of distributing timbral impressions divided between the elegiac and the obscure. Therefore, fans of the double bass can not fail to hear this concert…

…The Strathclyde concerto n. 8 is dedicated to the bassoon… It’s almost an enchanted bassoon, capable of penetrating into his own dimension: in the third movement the ability of the soloist brings out an imaginative perspective with an increase in the general tension. Next to a bassoon that seems son of improvisation, the orchestra produces wonderful luminous trails that explode in the same way of a fuse shot in the sky… © Percorsi Musicali



David Denton
David's Review Corner, November 2013

Taking their name from the Scottish region that commissioned the concertos, Peter Maxwell Davies composed a series of ten works featuring different instruments. Certainly among works for the double bass, the Seventh Concerto must rank amid the most outstanding 20th century scores for the instrument. Though often a technically challenging work, it largely concentrates its ability to sing just as eloquently as the cello. Written in two movements…the Lento sets a scene of serenity and peace that is to return as the work comes to a close. The soloist is Duncan McTier…The Eighth features the bassoon, not in its bumbling mode so beloved by composers, but as a concertante instrument used to add colours to the sound of a symphony orchestra. When it does emerge in solo mode…Davies requires a soloist of outstanding quality, Ursula Leveaux filling that role admirably. As we so often find with Davies, he is also an outstanding composer of highly commercial music. Recorded in 1993, with Davies conducting, we can take these as benchmark performances, the Scottish orchestra having been in very fine form…the sound quality is superb, and we have to be grateful they have been rescued and reissued. © 2013 David’s Review Corner






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