PETER MAXWELL DAVIES (b.1934): Brass Quintet*, Tallis: Four Voluntaries for Brass Quintet*, Fanfare for Lowry for 2 Trumpets*, Sea Eagle for Solo Horn, Litany for a Ruined Chapel between Sheep and Shore for Solo Trumpet, March: The Pole Star for Brass Quintet. * - First Recordings.
Catalogue Number: 03R063
Reference: NI 5936
Description: All these works date from 1980 or thereafter, when the watershed 2nd Symphony ushered in a more approachable, though no less original, Maxwell Davies than the unrepentant avant-gardiste of the previous two decades, with a greater emphasis on nature music and an adventurous and distinctive approach to tonality. The Brass Quintet, a large-scale piece of chamber music conceived with the serious approach to internal dialectic and expressive nuance more commonly associated with string quartets, is in three movements. The first, after an extended slow introduction, suggests a kind of sonata form. The central movement has a complex variation structure, slow-moving and epic in scale, almost Brucknerian in places, with brilliant fanfare interjections; the intricately structured, virtuosic finale is richly harmonized and exuberant. The Tallis transcriptions are literal and sonorous re-imaginings of keyboard counterpoint, based on plainchant fragments. The solo pieces vividly evoke the lonely landscape and wild creatures around the composer's Orkney home, with a feeling of vast open spaces, sombre and desolate. The Wallace Collection.