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Ronald E. Grames
Fanfare, March 2014

MAXWELL DAVIES, P.: Strathclyde Concertos Nos. 3 and 4 (R. Cook, Franks, Morrison, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Maxwell Davies) 8.572353
MAXWELL DAVIES, P.: Strathclyde Concertos Nos. 5 and 6 (Clark, Marwood, Nicholson, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Maxwell Davies) 8.572354

I couldn’t be more thrilled to see these marvelous works back in the catalog.

…this should be a most welcome pair of releases. 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 is not easy music, but to those willing to invest the time to appreciate these genuinely rewarding works, these discs are urgently recommended. Now if Naxos would but favor us with the rest of the series, to include the particularly hard-to-find Unicorn-Kanchana recording of the first and second of these concertos, to complement the live recording of the number two already released… © 2014 Fanfare Read complete review

BBC Music Magazine, November 2013

a central Adagio provides a still core to the work, played here with quiet intensity by Lewis Morrison. © BBC Music Magazine

MusicWeb International, September 2013

…the single-movement Third Concerto provides a virtuosic canvas for two instruments that have always featured strongly in the composer’s output…moving fairly slowly on the whole, inclining modernistically, brilliantly virtuosic, yet not without a good deal of melodic lustre.

Dedicatee Lewis Morrison is soloist for the Fourth Concerto for clarinet and orchestra…the Fourth Concerto has much the same kind of feel as the Third, challenging audiences and appealing to them in similar ways. Morrison is inspired, and relishes every minute of it.

Sound quality…is very good. © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review

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

These are impressive works, impressively performed by soloists and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra under the composer. The performances are authoritative.

Concerto No 3 features Robert Cook on French horn and Peter Franks, trumpet. It is the extroverted virtuosity of the horn/trumpet parts that carries the day, with modern, angular, acrobatic dynamics and a beautifully conceived orchestral melange. Concerto No 4 is no less vibrant, with clarinetist Lewis Morrison taking the central role with a puckish demeanor and the orchestra unfolding a cornucopia of colors and tonal blends.

This is music of boldness and robustness, virtuosity and a striving outward. It is hard to imagine better performances and the works fully satisfy while bringing to our ears a most engaging side of the composer in a serious yet at times playful frame of mind. A major addition to the Maxwell Davies oeuvre! © 2013 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, August 2013

Strathclyde Regional Council and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra commissioned from Peter Maxwell Davies a series of concertos featuring different instruments. The Third and Fourth he scored for wind instruments, the earlier of the two being divided between trumpet and French horn. Premiered in 1990 by the artists on this disc—Robert Cook and Peter Franks—it is a score of very differing moods. Maybe your entry point could be in the quiet repose of the third movement Andante, which leads directly to a proactive Allegro with the two instruments in an outgoing show of technical brilliance. Later in the same year came the Fourth for solo clarinet that goes someway towards tonality, particularly in the dance that lightens the mood of the second movement. But then the central Adagio is so dark that it is much like the lull before a storm around Davies’s home in the Orkney Islands. It never arrives, but in its place comes a long Cadenza that leads to an Adagio in the shape of a windswept lament. It is one of the most beautiful moments I have heard from the composer. Recorded in 1991, at the same time as the Third Concerto, it features the orchestra’s outstanding clarinet of Lewis Morrison. With the composer conducting we can take these as benchmark performances, the Scottish orchestra producing a whole spectrum of subtle colours, while the recorded sound is excellent. © David’s Review Corner

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