mon 20/11/2017

Maxwell Davies's Eight Songs for a Mad King/ Birtwistle's Secret Theatre, Queen Elizabeth Hall | reviews, news & interviews

Maxwell Davies's Eight Songs for a Mad King/ Birtwistle's Secret Theatre, Queen Elizabeth Hall

Maxwell Davies's Eight Songs for a Mad King/ Birtwistle's Secret Theatre, Queen Elizabeth Hall

Chamber work outclasses infamous mini-opera

World premiere performance of Maxwell Davies's 'Eight Songs' with Roy Hart
"I used to be able to run down these," whispered a wobbly 77-year-old Harrison Birtwistle to friends as he stumbled down the stairs to the Queen Elizabeth Hall stage to take his bow at last night's London Sinfonietta concert (for some inexplicable reason part of Ray Davies's Meltdown series at the Southbank). Birtwistle and his former partner-in-crime Peter Maxwell Davies - and their feral musical creations - used also to be very good at running foul of the musical establishment. For some reason, Sirs, Harrison Birtwistle, CH, and Peter Maxwell Davies, CBE, Master of the Queen's Music, don't do much of that these days.

He flirts with a flute. He smashes a violin (that had stomachs in throats). And he's chased off stage by a big bass drum'

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"for some inexplicable reason part of Ray Davies's Meltdown series at the Southbank". Igor, do you not understand the concept of the Meltdown festivals? Why have a dig at Ray Davies, the artistic director of the festival? Could it be because you just want to appear superior? After all, how could it POSSIBLY be the case that a mere popular music singer brings contemporary classical music to a festival. I mean, whatever next?! Isn't it enough that these two fine works were heard live? Does it matter who programmed them?

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