Notes & Reviews:
Collins Classic reissue of Maxwell Davies' chamber opera based on the disappearance of three lighthouse keepers from the Flannan Isles Lighthouse, Orkney Islands, in unexplained circumstances in 1900.
American Record Guide, November/December 2014
The Lighthouse (1979) is a one-act chamber opera with prologue by Peter Maxwell Davies, with text by the composer. The work tells the story of three descendents of Robert Louis Stevenson marooned in a windswept lighthouse in the Hebrides in 1900. These three lighthouse keepers mysteriously disappeared, and no one seems to know why or how. Davies sets the text in typically angular modernist parlando, with the humorous folklike songs and the more sober ballad creating a Britten-like contrast. In fact, Britten seems to be at the root of this, and fans of his operas might find this an interesting supplement. Performances of this difficult music are excellent. This was previously released on Collins.
BBC Music Magazine, July 2014
Even without the visuals, the work's taut pacing and sharp-focus invention grip the imagination from start to finish. All three cast members excel, taking Maxwell Davies's liking for apssages of falsetto yowling in their stride; and the instrumental playing is incisively superb.
MusicWeb International, 13th June 2014
The diction of all the singers is highly commendable and most of the words are clearly delivered even when Maxwell Davies' chamber orchestra is at its most strident. Neil Mackie was at the time something of a specialist in the composer's works, and throws himself into his role with the utmost conviction. Christopher Keyte made his career in more conventional repertoire, but sounds thoroughly at home. Ian Comboy mouths his religious platitudes with relish.
Recording information: Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, England (02/22/1994).
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Works DetailsMaxwell Davies, Peter : The Lighthouse, chamber opera in 1 act with prologue, J. 162
- Performers: Ian Comboy (Bass); Christopher Keyte (Bass); Neil Mackie (Tenor)
- Conductor: Peter Maxwell Davies
- Ensemble: Members of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
- Running Time: 27 min. 29 sec.
- Period Time: Contemporary
- Form: Opera/Operetta
- Written: 1979