Sir Peter Maxwell Davies
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1934-09-08
https://musicbrainz.org/artist/db16dadb-0024-4758-b35e-111ca52c53ea
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies Sir Peter Maxwell Davies Sir Peter Maxwell Davies Sir Peter Maxwell Davies

Biography

Any attempt to define the output of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies demands an appreciation of its sheer breadth and abundance – from the mainstream European modernism identified in his music of the 1950s, via the dramatic iconoclasm characteristic of works ...

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Biography

Any attempt to define the output of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies demands an appreciation of its sheer breadth and abundance – from the mainstream European modernism identified in his music of the 1950s, via the dramatic iconoclasm characteristic of works from the 1960s and the naturalistic soundscapes created after his move to Orkney in the early 1970s, to the implicit Classicism of the series of symphonies and concertos that span the 1980s and 1990s.

This extends now to a body of ‘light’ music, including the popular An Orkney Wedding, with Sunrise (1985) and Mavis in Las Vegas (1997), whose overt espousal of dance styles seems a world away from the disturbing incorporation of foxtrots in St Thomas Wake or Eight Songs for a Mad King (both 1969).

Even so, there is an integrity to Davies’s approach that has been conscious and thoroughgoing: the development of a strong and personal compositional technique at the service of artistic communication and the active engagement of performers and audiences. Formative in this were studies with Goffredo Petrassi in Rome (1957–8) and Roger Sessions in Princeton (1962–4), between which Davies taught at Cirencester Grammar School, writing the first of his works for children and amateur performers. The urge for theatrical expression initially found focus in works for the Pierrot Players (later The Fires of London) and subsequently bore fruit in full-scale operas – Taverner (1962–8, 1970), The Martyrdom of St Magnus (1976), The Lighthouse (1979), Resurrection (1987), The Doctor of Myddfai (1995) – and ballets, Salome (1978) and Caroline Mathilde (1990).

The particular qualities of light, land and sea associated with Orkney leave their first aural traces in vocal pieces such as Hymn to St Magnus (1972) and Stone Litany (1973) and continue through orchestral textures to the Orkney Saga series, begun in 1997. Seven numbered symphonies (1976–2000) and an Antarctic Symphony (2000) explore concerns for large-scale structural coherence in the post-tonal era. This corpus is counterbalanced with a recent concentration on chamber music, which includes a piano trio (Voyage to Fair Isle, 2002) and Clarinet Quintet (2004) and is crowned by a cycle of Naxos String Quartets (begun in 2002), together with a proliferation of choral music, from the substantial oratorios Job (1997) and Canticum canticorum (2001) to the more intimate Missa parvula (2002) and a variety of other liturgical pieces with and without accompaniment.

Through numerous conducting engagements in Europe and the USA, Davies maintains direct contact with those for whom his profusion of works is created. His succession of honours continued in March 2004 with the appointment as Master of The Queen’s Music. His fulfilment of the role to date has produced the large-scale Commemoration Sixty, to mark the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, and many effective miniatures. Following his collaboration in 2006 with Andrew Motion on an anthem for the Queen’s 80th birthday, The Golden Rule, Davies again set words by the former Poet Laureate in the oratorio The Five Acts of Harry Patch (2008) by way of a tribute to the last-surviving British soldier to have fought on the Western Front during the Great War, who sadly died in July 2009.

Profile © Peter Owens

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Sir Peter Maxwell Davies & Sir Peter Maxwell Davies
Farewell to Stromness for piano [interlude from 'The Yellow Cake Revue']
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Farewell to Stromness for piano [interlude from 'The Yellow Cake Revue'] Farewell to Stromness for piano [interlude from 'The Yellow Cake Revue'] Farewell to Stromness for piano [interlude from 'The Yellow Cake Revue'] Farewell to Stromness for piano [interlude from 'The Yellow Cake Revue']
The Nash Ensemble & Sir Peter Maxwell Davies
String Quintet
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String Quintet String Quintet String Quintet String Quintet
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, BBC Philharmonic & John Storgårds
Symphony no. 5
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Symphony no. 5 Symphony no. 5 Symphony no. 5 Symphony no. 5
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies & The Fires of London, Peter Maxwell Davies (conductor)
3 Early Scottish motets; Si Quis Diligit Me
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3 Early Scottish motets; Si Quis Diligit Me 3 Early Scottish motets; Si Quis Diligit Me 3 Early Scottish motets; Si Quis Diligit Me 3 Early Scottish motets; Si Quis Diligit Me

3 Early Scottish motets; Si Quis Diligit Me

Performer
The Fires of London, Peter Maxwell Davies (conductor)
Carlo Gesualdo, Graham Ashton Brass Ensemble & Sir Peter Maxwell Davies
2 Motets arr. Maxwell Davies for brass quintet
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2 Motets arr. Maxwell Davies for brass quintet 2 Motets arr. Maxwell Davies for brass quintet 2 Motets arr. Maxwell Davies for brass quintet 2 Motets arr. Maxwell Davies for brass quintet
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies
Farewell To Stromness
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Farewell To Stromness Farewell To Stromness Farewell To Stromness Farewell To Stromness
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies & Richard Watkins
Sea Eagle
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Sea Eagle Sea Eagle Sea Eagle Sea Eagle
Henry Purcell, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies & The Fires Of London
Fantasia on a Ground (arranged Maxwell Davies)
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Fantasia on a Ground (arranged Maxwell Davies) Fantasia on a Ground (arranged Maxwell Davies) Fantasia on a Ground (arranged Maxwell Davies) Fantasia on a Ground (arranged Maxwell Davies)
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Jessica Cottis & BBCSSO
Farewell to Stromness
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Farewell to Stromness Farewell to Stromness Farewell to Stromness Farewell to Stromness
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies & Sean Shibe
Farewell To Stromness
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Farewell To Stromness Farewell To Stromness Farewell To Stromness Farewell To Stromness
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies
Ave Maris Stella
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Ave Maris Stella Ave Maris Stella Ave Maris Stella Ave Maris Stella
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, BBC Singers & David Hill
A Lullaby for Lucy
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A Lullaby for Lucy A Lullaby for Lucy A Lullaby for Lucy A Lullaby for Lucy
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, BBC Singers & David Hill
One Star at Last
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One Star at Last One Star at Last One Star at Last One Star at Last
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, BBC Singers & David Hill
A Hoy Calendar
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A Hoy Calendar A Hoy Calendar A Hoy Calendar A Hoy Calendar
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies & Ruth Wall
Farewell to Stromness for piano [interlude from 'The Yellow Cake Revue']
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Farewell to Stromness for piano [interlude from 'The Yellow Cake Revue'] Farewell to Stromness for piano [interlude from 'The Yellow Cake Revue'] Farewell to Stromness for piano [interlude from 'The Yellow Cake Revue'] Farewell to Stromness for piano [interlude from 'The Yellow Cake Revue']

Farewell to Stromness for piano [interlude from 'The Yellow Cake Revue']

Performer
Ruth Wall
Last played on
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra & Sir Peter Maxwell Davies
An Orkney wedding, with sunrise for orchestra and bagpipes
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An Orkney wedding, with sunrise for orchestra and bagpipes An Orkney wedding, with sunrise for orchestra and bagpipes An Orkney wedding, with sunrise for orchestra and bagpipes An Orkney wedding, with sunrise for orchestra and bagpipes
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, London Sinfonietta & Sian Edwards
A Mirror of whitening light
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A Mirror of whitening light A Mirror of whitening light A Mirror of whitening light A Mirror of whitening light
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, London Sinfonietta, Sian Edwards & Rebecca Bottone
Revelation and fall for soprano and 16 instruments
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Revelation and fall for soprano and 16 instruments Revelation and fall for soprano and 16 instruments Revelation and fall for soprano and 16 instruments Revelation and fall for soprano and 16 instruments
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Ben Gernon, Dimitri Ashkenazy & Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Concerto (Strathclyde concerto no.4)
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Concerto (Strathclyde concerto no.4) Concerto (Strathclyde concerto no.4) Concerto (Strathclyde concerto no.4) Concerto (Strathclyde concerto no.4)
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Ben Gernon & Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Ebb of winter - concert overture
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Ebb of winter - concert overture Ebb of winter - concert overture Ebb of winter - concert overture Ebb of winter - concert overture
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Olivia Robinson, BBC Singers & David Hill
Westerlings - Four songs and a prayer with seascapes, Op. 73a
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Westerlings - Four songs and a prayer with seascapes, Op. 73a Westerlings - Four songs and a prayer with seascapes, Op. 73a Westerlings - Four songs and a prayer with seascapes, Op. 73a Westerlings - Four songs and a prayer with seascapes, Op. 73a

Westerlings - Four songs and a prayer with seascapes, Op. 73a

Choir
BBC Singers
Conductor
David Hill
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, BBC Singers & David Hill
Maxwell Davies - Dum complerentur, Op. 235 no. 1
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Maxwell Davies - Dum complerentur, Op. 235 no. 1 Maxwell Davies - Dum complerentur, Op. 235 no. 1 Maxwell Davies - Dum complerentur, Op. 235 no. 1 Maxwell Davies - Dum complerentur, Op. 235 no. 1
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies & The Choir of St Mary’s Music School
Seven Songs Home - Home
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Seven Songs Home - Home Seven Songs Home - Home Seven Songs Home - Home Seven Songs Home - Home
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, János Fürst & Danish Radio Concert Orchestra
Salome (The Triumph of Herod)
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Salome (The Triumph of Herod) Salome (The Triumph of Herod) Salome (The Triumph of Herod) Salome (The Triumph of Herod)
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies
Second Fantasia on John Taverner's 'In Nomine'
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Second Fantasia on John Taverner's 'In Nomine' Second Fantasia on John Taverner's 'In Nomine' Second Fantasia on John Taverner's 'In Nomine' Second Fantasia on John Taverner's 'In Nomine'
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies
Hill Runes (1981)
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Hill Runes (1981) Hill Runes (1981) Hill Runes (1981) Hill Runes (1981)
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies
Last Door of Light (2008, 1st broadcast)
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Last Door of Light (2008, 1st broadcast) Last Door of Light (2008, 1st broadcast) Last Door of Light (2008, 1st broadcast) Last Door of Light (2008, 1st broadcast)
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies
Fall of the Leafe
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Fall of the Leafe Fall of the Leafe Fall of the Leafe Fall of the Leafe
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies
Overture, St Francis of Assisi
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Overture, St Francis of Assisi Overture, St Francis of Assisi Overture, St Francis of Assisi Overture, St Francis of Assisi
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies & Sir Peter Maxwell Davies
MUSIC 3 - Maxwell Davies - Farewell to Stromness
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MUSIC 3 - Maxwell Davies - Farewell to Stromness MUSIC 3 - Maxwell Davies - Farewell to Stromness MUSIC 3 - Maxwell Davies - Farewell to Stromness MUSIC 3 - Maxwell Davies - Farewell to Stromness
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies
Farewell to Stromness
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Farewell to Stromness Farewell to Stromness Farewell to Stromness Farewell to Stromness
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, BBC Philharmonic & John Storgårds
Symphony no. 5, Op. 166
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Symphony no. 5, Op. 166 Symphony no. 5, Op. 166 Symphony no. 5, Op. 166 Symphony no. 5, Op. 166
Maxwell Davies, Peter, Pavel Haas Quartet
A Sad paven for these distracted tymes for string quartet
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A Sad paven for these distracted tymes for string quartet A Sad paven for these distracted tymes for string quartet A Sad paven for these distracted tymes for string quartet A Sad paven for these distracted tymes for string quartet
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, BBC Philharmonic & Sir Peter Maxwell Davies
Mavis in Las Vegas
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Mavis in Las Vegas Mavis in Las Vegas Mavis in Las Vegas Mavis in Las Vegas
London Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Chorus, Antonio Pappano & Sir Peter Maxwell Davies
Symphony no. 10 for baritone, chorus and orchestra: Part four
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Symphony no. 10 for baritone, chorus and orchestra: Part four Symphony no. 10 for baritone, chorus and orchestra: Part four Symphony no. 10 for baritone, chorus and orchestra: Part four Symphony no. 10 for baritone, chorus and orchestra: Part four
BBC Philharmonic & Sir Peter Maxwell Davies
Mavis in Las Vegas - overture
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Mavis in Las Vegas - overture Mavis in Las Vegas - overture Mavis in Las Vegas - overture Mavis in Las Vegas - overture
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Scottish Chamber Orchestra & Ben Gernon
An Orkney Wedding, with Sunrise
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An Orkney Wedding, with Sunrise An Orkney Wedding, with Sunrise An Orkney Wedding, with Sunrise An Orkney Wedding, with Sunrise
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Scottish Chamber Orchestra & Ben Gernon
Strathclyde Concerto No. 4
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Strathclyde Concerto No. 4 Strathclyde Concerto No. 4 Strathclyde Concerto No. 4 Strathclyde Concerto No. 4
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Scottish Chamber Orchestra & Ben Gernon
Concert Overture 'Ebb of Winter' (London premiere)
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Concert Overture 'Ebb of Winter' (London premiere) Concert Overture 'Ebb of Winter' (London premiere) Concert Overture 'Ebb of Winter' (London premiere) Concert Overture 'Ebb of Winter' (London premiere)
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Alison Wells, Ian Mitchell & Gemini
Miss Donnithorne's maggot for soprano and ensemble
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Miss Donnithorne's maggot for soprano and ensemble Miss Donnithorne's maggot for soprano and ensemble Miss Donnithorne's maggot for soprano and ensemble Miss Donnithorne's maggot for soprano and ensemble
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Harry Christophers & The Sixteen
Lullabye for Lucy for chorus [1982]
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Lullabye for Lucy for chorus [1982] Lullabye for Lucy for chorus [1982] Lullabye for Lucy for chorus [1982] Lullabye for Lucy for chorus [1982]
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Nicholas Cleobury & Aquarius
The Devils - concert suite for soprano solo, boys' choir and ensemble
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The Devils - concert suite for soprano solo, boys' choir and ensemble The Devils - concert suite for soprano solo, boys' choir and ensemble The Devils - concert suite for soprano solo, boys' choir and ensemble The Devils - concert suite for soprano solo, boys' choir and ensemble

The Devils - concert suite for soprano solo, boys' choir and ensemble

Performer
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