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Maxwell Davies orchestral music


Piano Concerto, Worldes Blis
Stott, Royal Philharmonic/Maxwell Davies
Naxos 8.572357

Trumpet Concerto, Piccolo Concerto,
Maxwell’s Reel with Northern Lights, Five Klee Pictures.
Stewart McIlwham, John Wallace, RSNO & PO/Peter Maxwell Davies

Naxos 8.572363

Two from Naxos.

The piano concerto is indeed daunting [David Nice], as for me is "the uncompromising power of Worldes Bliss, a proto-symphonic piece, interminable in its slow elaboration of plainchant as a cantus firmus, which had many of the Prom audience walking out in 1969 [Richard Whitehouse].

But the other, with trumpet and piccolo concertos (is there any other?) and attractive smaller pieces as fill-ups, is far more engaging and recommended. Davies bridges the worlds of hgh esotericism and populism, with a Scottish Hebridean flavour.

The performances and recording seems fine to hear, but the overlong notes tend towards complexities unlikely to help ordinary listeners, in print so small that magnifying glasses will be necessary for many - back to "daunting".

And why do so many labels take up space with uncommunicative little photos of orchestras in their halls?

Peter Grahame Woolf