sun 19/11/2017

Proms 70 and 71: Sir Peter Maxwell Davies | reviews, news & interviews

Proms 70 and 71: Sir Peter Maxwell Davies

Proms 70 and 71: Sir Peter Maxwell Davies

Where's the enfant terrible headed?

What exactly is the point of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies? I don't ask this with any malice or hostility, just in a tone of inquiry. It is a question that I think his new Violin Concerto, Fiddler on the Shore, raises. That is, is Davies still here to shock and annoy, or to assuage? The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under Davies's baton presented the British premiere of the work last night, with Daniel Hope as the soloist, in the first of two proms that celebrated the composer's 75th birthday. Within its single-movement span were representations from the two opposing camps of Davies's life and musical language.

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Have you listened to his symphonies? They also already displayed a similar combination of the atonal and the tonal - but what is the problem? He uses compositional techniques that are independent of the tonal/atonal dichotomy. Solstice of Light - a magnificent work - is not exactly new. So I fail to see your point; the Naxos quartets are of more recent provenance than SoL and far more provocative, even shocking.

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