Maxwell Davies: Symphony No. 6 (Time & Raven/ Orkney Wedding) (Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/ Peter Maxwell Davies) (Naxos: 8.572352)
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Sir Peter Maxwell Davies's passionate Sixth Symphony
is dedicated to the memory of the writer George Mackay Brown
, with the 'very special musical virtuosity' of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
in mind. It is one of his most beautifully expressive works and, whilst not untroubled, reaches moments of serene beauty. Composed for the 50th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations, Time and the Raven
is a brilliant and exciting collage, whilst few contemporary works enjoy such popularity as the magical An Orkney Wedding with Sunrise
is in many ways Maxwell Davies's most immediately approachable symphony - an excellent 'entry point' to his ongoing cycle of symphonies. It's both powerful and consoling, with the musical architecture leading ever onward to the moving last movement. Time and the Raven
is a bold occasional piece, whilst An Orkney Wedding with Sunrise
is one of his most performed compositions, notable for his use of the bagpipe. The performances are conducted by the composer with his favourite orchestra.
Universally acknowledged as one of the foremost composers of our time, 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.