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Maxwell Davies: Symphony No. 2; St Thomas Wake / BBC PO

Audio Samples

>Maxwell Davies, Peter : Symphony no 2, for orchestra, J. 170
>Maxwell Davies, Peter : St. Thomas Wake, foxtrot for orchestra on a pavan by John Bull, J. 78

Album Summary

>Maxwell Davies, Peter : Symphony no 2, for orchestra, J. 170
>Maxwell Davies, Peter : St. Thomas Wake, foxtrot for orchestra on a pavan by John Bull, J. 78
Conductor Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Sir Peter Maxwell Davies' Second Symphony is his 'Sea Symphony', a complex, virtuosic work that explores in absorbing, increasingly dynamic fashion, the ocean's proximity and what the composer calls 'the architecture of its forms'. Both themes and orchestration are masterly. The percussion section is richly voiced, adding considerably to the symphony's very particular, rugged and varied sound world. St Thomas Wake, by contrast, is a disquieting but bravura exercise in parody, evoking memories of the composer's experiences during the Second World War. Universally acknowledged as one of the foremost composers of our time, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies has made a significant contribution to musical history through his wide-ranging and prolific output. He lives in the Orkney Islands off the north coast of Scotland, where he writes most of his music.

"[The Symphony] comprises a giant four-movement reappraisal of tradition, far more self-consciously a symphony than the seemingly self-surprising example that is its brilliant predecessor. The earlier, foxtrot-parodying, grindingly dissonant symphonic essay St Thomas Wake is still as incandescent as it is entertaining." -The Sunday Times

MusicWeb International, 16th April 2013
The remains a modernist at heart, and expressionism, or at least anti-lyricism, is never far away. That is generally true of all his symphonies, and the seascape-inspired Second is no exception...Maxwell Davies's modernist credentials are also in evidence in the St Thomas Wake...The BBC Philharmonic are on form as usual, with Maxwell Davies ensuring everything is as it should be.

Sunday Times, 13th May 2012
[the Symphony] comprises a giant four-movement reappraisal of tradition, far more self-consciously a symphony than the seemingly self-surprising example that is its brilliant predecessor. The earlier, foxtrot-parodying, grindingly dissonant symphonic essay St Thomas Wake is still as incandescent as it is entertaining.



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Works Details

>Maxwell Davies, Peter : Symphony no 2, for orchestra, J. 170
  • Conductor: Peter Maxwell Davies
  • Ensemble: BBC Philharmonic
  • Running Time: 55 min. 24 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1980

>Maxwell Davies, Peter : St. Thomas Wake, foxtrot for orchestra on a pavan by John Bull, J. 78
  • Conductor: Peter Maxwell Davies
  • Notes: Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England (07/12/1991-07/13/1991)
  • Running Time: 20 min. 31 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1969
  • Studio/Live: Live