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Rob Haskins
American Record Guide, July 2013

These recordings are all reissues from the Collins label. The pieces hold up very well, probably because Davies’s style is so varied but personal. Collins’s sonics were always very fine, and the performances are first-rate—this disc is a must-have, as are all the other Naxos Collins reissues of Davies. © 2013 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

MusicWeb International, April 2013

This is the latest volume in Naxos’s excellent series of reissues of 1990s-vintage Collins Classics recordings of Peter Maxwell Davies’s orchestral works.

Conducting three excellent orchestras across an eight-year period, the Master of the Queen’s Music makes sure his is done the right way for posterity. Sound quality ranges from good to first-rate. The booklet texts are shared between David Nice and Richard Whitehouse, both eloquent annotators. © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Robert Moon
Audiophile Audition, April 2013

In the Piccolo Concerto, the composer vacillates between creating instrumental textures that both honor the silvery solo instrument and drown out its unique sound. In between is a beautifully wrought quiet interaction between a bass clarinet and the piccolo, the highlight of this imaginatively orchestrated work.

The Trumpet Concerto…begins with a dialogue/struggle between trumpet and orchestra that is serious, dramatic and brilliantly scored. The quiet and eerily beautiful slow movement begins with the trumpet singing plaintively, with a chorus of strings and percussion that climaxes, then transitions to a lively dance, with an apotheosis that gives soloist John Wallace many virtuosic opportunities. What shines in this work is [Maxwell Davies’] inspired and resourceful scoring for an instrument he obviously loves…

This is a good introduction to the sound world of Peter Maxwell Davies, well-performed and recorded. © 2013 Audiophile Audition Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, February 2013

Continuing Naxos’s release of Peter Maxwell Davies’s orchestral works, the present release covers a cross-section of his music through much of his career. He does, for many, remain an enigma, one minute offering the listener readily attractive and likeable music, and then producing a score that is difficult to the point of intransigence. Such, I am sure, is how he will continue, and it is our task to musically meet with him. So here we have a bridge, the Piccolo Concerto restraining the perky aspects of the instrument until the finale, the two previous movements exploring its lyric aspects that we seldom hear, though it is often set against an uneasy orchestral backdrop. The opening to the Trumpet Concerto is morose and forbidding, the trumpet seemingly finding its way into the score before establishing its presence, eventually arriving at a passage of pure dexterity and virtuosity. The central Adagio is a picture of desolation leading directly to a highly energized final Presto. Not an obvious solo showpiece, the work is extremely difficult. Then we revert to the populist Davies with Maxwell’s Reel with Northern Lights, a real-life picture of an event that took place when he saw the Northern Lights seemingly dancing in time with the music being played in the Orkney dance hall. The Five Klee Pictures was originally written for a school orchestra, each very short and easily attractive. Stewart McIlwham and John Wallace are the piccolo and trumpet soloists, the composer conducting in superb quality recordings made in the 1990’s and at one time available on Collins Classics. One fervently hopes there are more Maxwell Davies discs planned on Naxos. © 2013 David’s Review Corner

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