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Sadly so many revolutions revolve, and create again a different but equally insipid servility! But the earliest piece in this recital, the Quartet Movement he wrote in his first year at Manchester University (1952), predates the ardent turmoil, and has in embryo the sounds of the European and Celtic heritage that emerged thirty years later [listen -- track 1, 0:03-0:58].

The clarinet pieces Hymnos, with piano, and The Seven Brightnesses for solo clarinet, were written for Alan Hacker in the days of the Fires of London, and are here played with accomplished precision by Guy Cowley [listen -- track 14, 0:00-0:30]. There is also an abrasive and neurotic Clarinet Sonata, first heard at Darmstadt in 1957 and then lost until 1983.

The Five Piano Pieces (1955-6) inhabit a soundscape similar to that of Schoenberg, with a substantial six-minute centre-piece. But the best of the recital comes at the end with the two Little Quartets, a brief single movement piece dating from 1977 and revised in 1987 to become the second one, and an attractively sad three-movement quartet of 1980 which made the journey worth while [listen -- track 26, 0:00-0:55].

Copyright © 10 March 2004 Patric Standford, Wakefield UK


Peter Maxwell Davies chamber works (1952-1987)

MSV CD92055 DDD Stereo NEW RELEASE 78'15" 2003 David Lefeber, Metier Sound & Vision

Guy Cowley, clarinet; Ian Pace, piano; The Kreutzer Quartet

Peter Maxwell Davies (born 1934): Quartet Movement (1952); Five Pieces for Piano Op 2 (1955-6); Sonata for clarinet and piano (1956-7); String Quartet (1961); Hymnos (1967); The Seven Brightnesses (1975); Little Quartet No 1 (1980); Little Quartet No 2 (1977, lost in the post then reconstructed from sketches in 1987)



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