Maxwell Davies: Linguae Ignis/ Vesalii Icones/ Fantasia And Two Pavans (Contempoartensemble/ Mauro Ceccanti/ Vittorio Ceccanti) (Naxos: 8.572712)
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A new disc of instrumental works from the Master of the Queen's Music, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. Linguae Ignis is an instrumental motet for cello and ensemble, and was premiered in 2002 by the forces that perform it on this disc. This beautiful, elegiac work sees Maxwell Davies entwining two Pentecostal Plainchants around each other, and gradually generating rich dance patterns, to which the solo cello responds with eloquent reserve. Dating from much earlier, Vesalii Icones again has a strong role for solo cello, and also a solo dancer. It's a set of fourteen dances, based on illustrations by Vesalius, that play out the Stations of the Cross in music of profound ritualistic expression. By contrast the Fantasia and Two Pavans provide a sardonic and provocative gloss on Purcell.
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