Universally acknowledged as one of the foremost composers of our time, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies has made a significant contribution to musical history through his eclectic and prolific output. He lives in the Orkney Islands off the north coast of Scotland, where he writes most of his music. In a catalogue spanning more than five decades, he has written in a broad range of styles, yet his music always communicates directly and powerfully, whether in his profoundly argued symphonic works, his music-theatre compositions or his witty, light orchestral pieces.
This month sees the release of the last of the Naxos re-issues of recordings made for the Collins Classics label in the 1990s.
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies’ ballet Caroline Mathilde premièred in 1991 and has been highly acclaimed ever since. Its story concerns the tragic marriage of Caroline to Christian VII of Denmark and is cast in a musical language that embraces expressionism, drama, parody, and overt lyricism. The two concert suites chart the young queen’s fall from grace and her eventual banishment into exile. Chat Moss is a richly textured tone poem, while by contrast the Ojai Festival Overture is a lively and extrovert concert piece reflecting Maxwell Davies’ fondness for American landscape and culture.
Listen to an extract from Caroline Mathilde Concert Suite: A Public Square
“There is no overstating the richness of the composer’s invention, or the intensity and clarity of the argument, or the surprising and often profoundly moving beauties to be found in these scores.”
“It’s hard to believe that one artist created the 18 multifaceted works highlighted in this compilation, from the profoundly challenging Eight Songs for a Mad King to the eloquent Sixth Naxos Quartet.”
– Classic FM 4 ★★★★