(one of the Records of the Year 2003)
Quartet Movement, written in Davies’s late teens, is part of a work rejected by the Society for the Promotion of New Music and burnt in anger. These 152 seconds were salvaged from sketches, and compelling they are: a brilliant play with hectic scales and cross rhythms. Five Piano Pieces, Op 2, are from a few years later, as is the Sonata for Clarinet and Piano. Both works are dense in the Boulezian manner, but are given here with exemplary lucidity. The 1961 String Quartet is a masterpiece, uniting the neo-medieval and neo-Mahlerian in Davies’s totally original way. Also included are the two Little Quartets and the Hymnos for clarinet and piano.