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MusicWeb International, July 2013

This is another recent disc from the excellent Naxos reissue series featuring 1990s-vintage Collins Classics recordings of Maxwell Davies’s orchestral works.

Kathryn Stott is the soloist and dedicatee; with Maxwell Davies himself conducting, this must be considered a pretty authoritative recording.

Like Stott, the Royal Philharmonic give a tremendously impassioned account of both of these extraordinarily demanding works. Sound quality is very good too. © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review, January 2013

The Naxos CD of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies’ Piano Concerto is a re-release…Davies’ concerto is appealingly direct and much easier to hear, with a fresh directness that nicely complements episodes of youthful enthusiasm…The expansive and multifaceted first movement is succeeded by two more-direct ones, with Stott playing them all with attentiveness and intelligence, and Davies himself leading the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with skill and very fine attention to the details of orchestration that he, after all, knows inside-out. Also on this CD is a re-release of Davies conducting Worldes Blis…this is a well-recorded performance in which Davies shows himself an adept handler of a fine orchestra where his own music is concerned; and the music itself has a considerable degree of emotional communicativeness. © 2013 Read complete review

Rob Barnett
MusicWeb International, January 2013

The Piano Concerto is in four movements. It bursts on to the scene with a landslide of notes—an enraged wild-eyed medusa. Soon however it melts into a solipsistic dream with dissonance applied freely. The music is overarched by the fanfare figure…The RPO bring playing of the utmost tenderness to the second movement. This is, at heart, very romantic and at times sentimental. Such kaleidoscopic variety! The third movement is memorable for dreamy jazzy little figurations.

Worldes Blis…remains a most imaginative work which I liked far more than I had expected.

The better than useful liner-notes are by David Nice and Richard Whitehouse. © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, January 2013

Peter Maxwell Davies’s piano concerto was written in modern terms, yet with its roots in the 19th-century scores that challenge the total technique of the soloist. Completed in 1997 for the pianist Kathryn Stott—the composer and soloist having been born at very differing times in the north of England city of Manchester—it is fashioned in the conventional format of three movements. If the long opening movement, in its many widely differing moods and tempos, does not jump out and ask you to like it, there is much in the slow movement that I find attractive in its use of atonality, while the boisterous final Allegro has the trademark of the Rondo finales from the Romantic era. Divided into six movements of very unequal length, [Worldes Blis] is predominantly slow moving and purely atonal, the feeling of peaceful meditation smashed to pieces by the percussion onslaught in the central Allegro. It is a mood that continues through to the end of the work, when you may have wished for a return to the work’s opening. For any orchestra this has to be a major undertaking, Davies here using one of his favourite London ensembles. With Stott as soloist and the composer conducting, we can take these superbly recorded performances as the benchmark. Both recordings were briefly available on the Collins label in the 1990s. © 2013 David’s Review Corner

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