Main content
Sorry, this episode is not currently available

Farewell to Stromness

Donald Macleod considers how the Orkney Islands' landscape, history, environment, myths and its people inspired Peter Maxwell Davies's work.

Donald Macleod explores the music of Peter Maxwell Davies, who died a year ago this week at the age of 81. The contribution this former Master of the Queen's Music has made to the musical life of our islands is incalculable. He was a hugely prolific composer, performer and teacher. Born in Salford in the 1930s, one of the composer's first musical memories was listening to foxtrot records under his parents' staircase as the bombs were falling during the Second World War. In the 1960s he was considered the 'enfant terrible' of new British music, writing the soundtrack for Ken Russell's controversial film 'The Devils' and even provoking an audience walk-out during the BBC Proms. However his music and life was to change as he came under the spell of the Orkney islands, which he first visited in the early 1970s before moving there a few years later for the rest of his life.

Donald Macleod twice visited the composer in Orkney, and begins the week with an exploration of how the islands' landscape, history, environment, myths and its people inspired his work.

Farewell to Stromness
Peter Maxwell Davies, piano

Symphony No.1 (second movement)
Philharmonia Orchestra
Simon Rattle, conductor

Martyrdom of St Magnus (excerpt)
Earl Magnus, Christopher Gillett (tenor)
Herald of Earl Magnus, Peter Thomson (tenor)
Earl Hakon, Kelvin Thomas (baritone)
Herald of Earl Hakon, Richard Morris (baritone)
Music Theatre Wales with the Scottish Chamber Opera Ensemble
Michael Rafferty, conductor

Black Pentecost (second movement)
Della Jones, mezzo soprano
David Wilson-Johnson, baritone
BBC Philharmonic
Peter Maxwell Davies, conductor

A Spell for Greencorn: The MacDonald Dances (excerpt)
James Clark, violin
Peter Maxwell Davies, conductor.

1 hour

Last on

Mon 13 Mar 2017 18:30

Music Played

  • Peter Maxwell Davies

    Farewell to Stromness

    Conductor: Peter Maxwell Davies. Performer: Peter Maxwell Davies.
    • CENTAUR.
    • crc-2102.
  • Peter Maxwell Davies

    Symphony no. 1 - Lento-Allegro

    Conductor: Sir Simon Rattle. Performer: Philharmonia Orchestra.
    • UNIVERSAL.
    • 473721-2.
  • Peter Maxwell Davies

    'The martyrdom of St Magnus' - Magnus’s journey to the Isle of Egilsay

    Conductor: Michael Rafferty. Performer: Music Theatre Wales. Performer: Scottish Chamber Opera Ensemble.
    • Unicorn Kanchana.
    • DKP9100.
  • Peter Maxwell Davies

    'The martyrdom of St Magnus' - Earl Hakon plots to murder Magnus

    Conductor: Michael Rafferty. Performer: Music Theatre Wales. Performer: Scottish Chamber Opera Ensemble.
    • Unicorn Kanchana.
    • DKP9100.
  • Peter Maxwell Davies

    Black Pentecost, II Black Star. Operation Black Star was how they described it

    Conductor: Peter Maxwell Davies. Performer: David Wilson‐Johnson. Performer: Della Jones. Performer: BBC Philharmonic.
    • Collins Classics.
    • 13662.
  • Peter Maxwell Davies

    A Spell for Greencorn: The MacDonald Dances (extract)

    Conductor: Peter Maxwell Davies. Performer: James Clarke. Performer: Scottish Chamber Opera Ensemble.
    • COLLINS CLASSICS.
    • --14442.

Broadcasts

Composers A to Z

Composers A to Z

Visit the extensive audio archive of Radio 3 programmes about Composers and their works.

A man out of time – why Parry's music and ideas were at odds with his image...

A man out of time – why Parry's music and ideas were at odds with his image...

The composer of Jerusalem was very far from the conservative figure his image suggests.

Five reasons why we love Parry's Jerusalem

Five reasons why we love Parry's Jerusalem

What is the strange power of Jerusalem which makes strong men weep?

Composer Help Page

Composer Help Page

Find resources and contacts for composers from within the classical music industry.