Peter Maxwell Davies

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Sue Lawley's castaway this week is Peter Maxwell Davies.

He is one of Britain's greatest living composers. His career has seen him go from enfant terrible and champion of new music, writing pieces such as Worldes Blis and Eight Songs for a Mad King, to Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Master of the Queen's Music. Peter Maxwell Davies was born in Salford, near Manchester, in 1934. Whilst studying at Manchester University and the Royal Manchester College of Music he formed the key friendships which were to influence his musical career - with Harrison Birtwhistle, Elgar Howarth, Alexander Goehr and John Ogdon. It was during the 60s that Peter composed some of his most influential works - including often cacophonous, expressionist pieces like Vesalii Icones, St. Thomas Wake and Worldes Blis. Music-theatre pieces like Eight Songs were groundbreaking in their use of drama, as well as music. He is fascinated by the mathematical structures and patterns that exist in nature - and tries to replicate them in his music. For more than 30 years he has lived on and been inspired by the Isles of Orkney where, he says, the sounds that surround him creep into his music almost without him knowing it.

[Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs]

Favourite track: Victimae Paschali Laudes by The Benedictine Monks of Silos
Book: Sanskrit dictionary
Alternative to Bible: Bhagavad-Gita
Luxury: Copper plate engravings of Durer's Passion

Release date:

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Fri 4 Feb 2005 09:00


Role Contributor
PresenterSue Lawley
Interviewed GuestPeter Maxwell Davies

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