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Monday, November 19, 2012

Peter Maxwell Davies, Symphony No. 6, Royal Philharmonic

The Peter Maxwell Davies conducts his symphonic output series continues with a new reissue of his Symphony No. 6 (1996) (Naxos 8.572352). As in the symphonies immediately preceding this one (covered on these pages), the soft-focus orchestral palette of color continues, but this time it often gives way to moments of impassioned turbulence and adagio passages of considerable beauty and mystery. It is dedicated to the memory of writer George Mackay Brown.

This would seem to be the definitive version, with Davies conducting the Royal Philharmonic in a resoundingly vivid performance.

The disk contains two bonus works, which are less formally symphonic but quite good to have nonetheless. "Time and the Raven" (1995) marks the 50th anniversary of the United Nations with some dynamic modern music and some representational collage insertions that give the work a sort of double character. Similarly "An Orkney Wedding with Sunrise" (1984) combines Davies multidimensional orchestral style with passages of rustic charm.

For the symphony and the attractive additional works this one would be an essential addition to your English modern library.

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