Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

"Music, both vocall and instrumental, so good, so delectable, so rare, so admirable, so super excellent, that it did even ravish and stupifie all those strangers that never heard the like." - Thomas Coryat, after hearing 3 hours of music at the Scuola di San Rocco in Venice, 1608.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Peter Maxwell Davies, RIP

I rushed this review a bit to honour the great composer Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, who died today, March 14, 2016, at the age of 81. This is a fitting tribute for the Great Man of The North of England, with its cover by a fellow Lancashire lad, and another Great Man of The North, the painter LS Lowry. The short Fanfare for LS Lowry that Maxwell Davies wrote for The Lowry Arts & Entertainment Centre in Salford is a great tribute from one artist to another, and an example of so many of Maxwell Davies' best qualities: ingenuity, wit, sentiment without sentimentality, and an absolutely perfect way of writing for brass instruments.

There are more substantial works and light pieces for a wide range of instrumental combinations on this disc, that show off Max's compositional skill, but also the special talents of the The Wallace Collection. I was impressed with the cleverness of Maxwell Davies' arrangement for brass quintet of Four Voluntaries by Thomas Tallis, and by the delicacy and musicianship with which they were played. I'll be playing lots of Sir Peter's music in the future; this was a good place to start.

Peter Maxwell Davies (8 September 1934 – 14 March 2016)

And LS Lowry (1 November 1887 – 23 February 1976)

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