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Peter Maxwell Davies - Maxwell Davies Sinfonia Concertante, Sinfonia (1989)

15-09-2015, 11:33
Classical Music | FLAC / APE

Peter Maxwell Davies - Maxwell Davies Sinfonia Concertante, Sinfonia (1989)

Artist: Peter Maxwell Davies
Album: Maxwell Davies Sinfonia Concertante, Sinfonia
Released: 1989
Label: Unicorn-Kanchana
Genre: Classical
Quality: FLAC
Bitrate: Lossless
Total Time: 59:22
Total Size: 254.6 MB
WebSite: Album Preview


01 Sinfonia Concertante, Op. 106 - I. Adagio molto – Allegro molto
02 Sinfonia Concertante, Op. 106 - II. Andante
03 Sinfonia Concertante, Op. 106 - III. Flessibile – Allegro
04 Sinfonia, Op. 20 - I. Lento recitando
05 Sinfonia, Op. 20 - II. Allegro molto moderato
06 Sinfonia, Op. 20 - III. Allegro
07 Sinfonia, Op. 20 - IV. Lento

Once again, a used CD blind purchase paid off. Once again, I was unfamiliar with the composer’s work until I spun up the disc for the first time. But unlike previous aural Mystery Dates, I wasn’t sure what to think after the first listen. I was intrigued enough, though, to agree to meet up again a few days later for a 2nd date. The verdict? It seemed like the composition was less about the notes written and more about what was happening in between them, or what they implied, what they were pointing to. Conclusion? There’s clearly something interesting going on here, but what it was still eluded me.

While these two pieces are performed with traditional orchestral instruments, they are most certainly not your traditional orchestral works. If there’s a time signature, I can’t tell what it is. Almost every single other musical composition ever written has a sense of movement, a more-or-less certain direction that it moves in. Both of these works seem to be more about uncertainty. They’re not static, but the motion here is hesitant, pensive, unsure, as if we’re feeling our way through a dense fog — and we’re not certain whether or not we’re near the edge of a cliff.

The only clue I’ve been able to find as to Sir Peter Maxwell Davies’ intent for either of these pieces is from a line on his website describing the structure of the Sinfonia Concertante: “The work opens with an introductory slow ‘quest’ for the home tonality of D minor…” There is indeed a sense of dissatisfaction, an angst for something missing, a yearning for completeness that is never fully resolved. These are very much late 20th Century compositions, and the reason I was unfamiliar with Maxwell Davies’ work is because it is virtually never programmed in the concert hall — at least in America. He has stretched the boundaries of what we typically think of as music and most of us, myself included, have failed to keep up with trailblazers like him. Hell, he penned the Opus 20 Sinfonia over 50 years ago and I had to listen to it 3 times before I could even begin to appreciate it(!).

Sir Pete conducts the Scottish Chamber orchestra in this 1989 digital recording. If you’re wondering what my relationship is with it after our 3rd date, despite not having a snappy beat and being no fun whatsoever at a party, it’s perfect for when I’m in a more intellectual mood and wanting to discuss philosophy with someone way smarter than I am. I’d say Her Royal Highness knew exactly what she was doing when she granted MD a knighthood. I look forward to many more evenings spent with these works and exploring what else he has to say.

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