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

Peter Maxwell Davies Biography (BBC)

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

Peter Maxwell Davies Biography (Wikipedia)

Sir Peter Maxwell Davies CH CBE (8 September 1934 – 14 March 2016) was an English composer and conductor. In 2004 he was made Master of the Queen's Music.

As a student at both the University of Manchester and at the Royal Manchester College of Music, he formed a group dedicated to contemporary music, the New Music Manchester, with fellow students Harrison Birtwistle, Alexander Goehr, Elgar Howarth and John Ogdon. His compositions include eight works for the stage, from the monodrama Eight Songs for a Mad King, which shocked the audience in 1969, to Kommilitonen!, first performed in 2011. He wrote ten symphonies, the first in 1973–76, the tenth ("Alla ricerca di Borromini") in 2013.

As a conductor, he was Artistic Director of the Dartington International Summer School from 1979 to 1984. From 1992 to 2002 he was associate conductor/composer with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, a position he also held with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra.

This entry is from Wikipedia, the user-contributed encyclopedia. It may not have been reviewed by professional editors and is licensed under an Attribution-ShareAlike Creative Commons License. If you find the biography content factually incorrect or highly offensive you can edit this article at Wikipedia. Find out more about our use of this data.

Peter Maxwell Davies Performances & Interviews


Peter Maxwell Davies Tracks

Peter Maxwell Davies
Farewell to Stromness
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Farewell to Stromness

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Henry Purcell
Fantasia and Two Pavans: Pavan in A major
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Fantasia and Two Pavans: Pavan in A major
Peter Maxwell Davies
One star, at last
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One star, at last

One star, at last

Choir
King's College Chapel Choir
Peter Maxwell Davies
Nuckelavee at the Rock
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Nuckelavee at the Rock
Peter Maxwell Davies
A Birthday Card for Liz
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A Birthday Card for Liz
Peter Maxwell Davies
Chapel by the Shore
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Chapel by the Shore
Peter Maxwell Davies
Sudden Squall
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Sudden Squall
Johann Sebastian Bach
Prelude and Fugue in C sharp major, BWV.848
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Prelude and Fugue in C sharp major, BWV.848
Peter Maxwell Davies
I Could Be Happy, The You-Don't-Want
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I Could Be Happy, The You-Don't-Want
Peter Maxwell Davies
Farewell to Stromness (The Yellow Cake Revue)
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Farewell to Stromness (The Yellow Cake Revue)
Peter Maxwell Davies
Farewell to Stromness
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Farewell to Stromness
Peter Maxwell Davies
One star, at last
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One star, at last
Peter Maxwell Davies
An Orkney Wedding, with Sunrise
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An Orkney Wedding, with Sunrise
Peter Maxwell Davies
Lullabye for Lucy
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Lullabye for Lucy
Johann Sebastian Bach
Prelude and fugue (BWV.849) in C sharp minor
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Prelude and fugue (BWV.849) in C sharp minor
Peter Maxwell Davies
A Sad paven for these distracted tymes for string quartet
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A Sad paven for these distracted tymes for string quartet
Peter Maxwell Davies
An Orkney Wedding, with Sunrise
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An Orkney Wedding, with Sunrise
Peter Maxwell Davies
Sonata Op.1 For Trumpet And Piano
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Sonata Op.1 For Trumpet And Piano
Peter Maxwell Davies
Farewell to Stromness
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Farewell to Stromness
Peter Maxwell Davies
Eight Songs for a Mad King, 8. The Review
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Eight Songs for a Mad King, 8. The Review
Peter Maxwell Davies
Worldes Blis
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Worldes Blis
Peter Maxwell Davies
Eight Songs for a Mad King
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Eight Songs for a Mad King
Peter Maxwell Davies
Eight Songs for a Mad King, 1. The Sentry
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Eight Songs for a Mad King, 1. The Sentry
Carlo Gesualdo
2 Motets arr. Maxwell Davies for brass quintet
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2 Motets arr. Maxwell Davies for brass quintet
Peter Maxwell Davies
I could be happy (The Boyfriend Suite)
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I could be happy (The Boyfriend Suite)
Peter Maxwell Davies
Farewell to Stromness
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Farewell to Stromness
Peter Maxwell Davies
Farewell to Stromness
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Farewell to Stromness
Peter Maxwell Davies
Kinloche his Fantassie
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Kinloche his Fantassie
Peter Maxwell Davies
An Orkney Wedding, with Sunrise
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An Orkney Wedding, with Sunrise
Peter Maxwell Davies
An Orkney Wedding, with Sunrise
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An Orkney Wedding, with Sunrise
Peter Maxwell Davies
In Nomine à 4 No 3; In Nomine
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In Nomine à 4 No 3; In Nomine
Peter Maxwell Davies
Lullabye for Lucy
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Lullabye for Lucy
Carlo Gesualdo
O vos omnes (2 motets arr. Peter Maxwell Davies)
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O vos omnes (2 motets arr. Peter Maxwell Davies)
Peter Maxwell Davies
Farewell to Stromness
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Farewell to Stromness
Peter Maxwell Davies
Ojai Festival Overture
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Ojai Festival Overture
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Past BBC Events

Proms 2009: Prom 70
https://www.bbc.co.uk/events/ed6hn3
Royal Albert Hall
2009-09-08T02:53:30
8
Sep
2009

Proms 2009: Prom 70

Royal Albert Hall
Proms 2004: Prom 27
https://www.bbc.co.uk/events/ehwc8g
Royal Albert Hall
2004-08-04T02:53:30
4
Aug
2004

Proms 2004: Prom 27

Royal Albert Hall
Proms 2000: Prom 09
https://www.bbc.co.uk/events/efdrzc
Royal Albert Hall
2000-07-21T02:53:30
21
Jul
2000

Proms 2000: Prom 09

Royal Albert Hall
Proms 2000: Proms Composer Portrait 01
https://www.bbc.co.uk/events/egf6q9
Royal College of Music
2000-07-21T02:53:30
21
Jul
2000

Proms 2000: Proms Composer Portrait 01

Royal College of Music
Proms 1999: Prom 08
https://www.bbc.co.uk/events/edfc8g
Royal Albert Hall
1999-07-21T02:53:30
21
Jul
1999

Proms 1999: Prom 08

Royal Albert Hall

Latest Peter Maxwell Davies News

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