Sir Peter Maxwell Davies Recordings

Sir Peter Maxwell Davies is universally acknowledged as one of the foremost composers of our time. He lives in the Orkney Islands off the north coast of Scotland where he writes most of his music. He has written across the widest gamut of musical genre, and in many styles. The power to communicate forcefully and directly with his audiences manifests itself whether it be in his profoundly argued symphonic works, the delightful music-theatre works written to be performed by non-specialist children or his sometimes outrageous witty light orchestral works.

As the critic in the Wiener Zeitung wrote following a concert of all Maxwell Davies works at the Musikverein in Vienna “A great and significant occasion on the Vienna concert scene and the public took full advantage of it: the Musikverein was almost fully booked and scarcely anyone left in the interval. I know of no other living composer who could bring that off with a programme consisting entirely of his own works”.

His major theatrical works include the operas Taverner, Resurrection, The Lighthouse and The Doctor of Myddfai; the full-length ballets Salome and Caroline Mathilde, and the music-theatre works Eight Songs for a Mad King and Miss Donnithorne’s Maggot. His huge output of orchestral works includes eight symphonies, hailed by The Times as being ‘the most important symphonic cycle since Shostakovich’, fourteen concertos, several light orchestral works, including An Orkney Wedding, with Sunrise and Mavis in Las Vegas, and five large-scale works for chorus, including the oratorio Job.

Maxwell Davies is also active as a conductor and has recently finished ten years as Conductor/Composer of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London, also having held the position of Composer/Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic in Manchester until 2000, and is the Composer Laureate of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. He guest-conducts orchestras both in Europe and in the United States including the Cleveland Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony, the Leipzig Gewandhaus, the Russian National Orchestra, the Oslo Philharmonic and the Philharmonia.

In recent times Maxwell Davies has concentrated his compositional efforts on chamber music, including the landmark cycle of ten string quartets commissioned by Naxos (called the Naxos Quartets), the entire cycle being performed at the Wigmore Hall in London by the Maggini Quartet between 2002 and 2007. Future commissions include orchestral works for the Camerata Salzburg, Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Bremen Philharmonic and a chamber work for the Cheltenham Festival.

The 2006/7 season saw the world premiere of Maxwell Davies’ 9th and 10th Naxos Quartets at the Wigmore Hall, as well as performances of his music by orchestras such as the Philharmonia Orchestra, Hallé Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Atlanta Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, Utah Symphony, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Northern Sinfonia, Stavanger Symphony, Royal Danish Ballet, Wiener Kammeroper and many others.

Sir Peter Maxwell Davies was appointed Master of the Queen’s Music in March 2004. He is represented by Intermusica.