ComposerPeter Maxwell Davies
ArtistKreutzer Quartet
Instrumentsstring quartet
LabelMetier (2055)
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Picture of CD of chamber works by Peter Maxwell Davies performed by Guy Cowley, Ian Pace and the Kreutzer Quartet
Peter Maxwell DAVIES

Quartet movement (1952)
Five Pieces for Piano Op. 2 (1955-7)
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 rev. 1987)

Kreutzer Quartet, Guy Cowley - clarinet, Ian Pace - piano

THE SUNDAY TIMES, Paul Driver, Records of the year 2003
"Quartet Movement, a brilliant play with hectic scales and cross rhythms, was written in Davies's teens and salvaged from sketches. Five Piano Pieces and Sonatano for Clarient and Piano date from a little later. Both works are given here with lucidity and grace."

GRAMOPHONE, Duncan Druce
"Despite being limited to music for piano, clarinet and string quartet, this programme gives a remarkably clear picture of Peter Maxwell Davies's art. In the short 1952 Quartet Movement, the 18-year-old composer handles complex polyrhythms with aplomb and individually. The Five Piano Pieces and the Clarinet Sonata show him, in the middle of the 1950s, handling post-Webern extended serialism in a very personal way. We hear tranquil, sparse episodes, sudden tempestuous outbursts, and more generally speaking ideas that are very precisely and distinctively articulated. Maxwell Davies creates a powerful sense of space, as in a landscape painting where subtle gradations of light and colour create effects of distance and atmosphere. This quality is just as apparent in the last of the Piano Pieces as at the end of the Little Quartet no. 1 or in The Seven Brightnesses, with its extraordinary, gleaming high notes.

The two works from the 1960s could hardly be more different from such angular, painterly works: the String Quartet is tranquil for the most part, and expressively quite cool; Hymnos, belonging to the same period as music theatre works like Revelation and Fall and Eight Songs for a Mad King, full of extreme, expressionistic contrasts. Guy Cowley and Ian Pace's playing is strong and well controlled, though they do not neglect the necessary touch of wildness that characterised the original performances and recording by Alan Hacker and Stephen Pruslin. All the playing, indeed, is excellent - the Kreutzer Quartet's pure tone and fine intonation are great assets in the pared-down idiom of the two Little Quartets. With realistic, sensitive recording, this is a must for anyone interested in Maxwell Davies."

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Tracks on this CD

Peter Maxwell Davies Quartet Movement (1952)
1.Allegro vivace
Peter Maxwell Davies Five Pieces for Piano Op. 2 (1955-6)
2.I - Andante
3.II - Allegro
4.III - Andante
5.IV - Adagio - non troppo
6.V - Allegretto
Peter Maxwell Davies Sonata for Clarinet and Piano (1956-7)
7.I - Moderato
8.II - Allegro - Presto - Prestissimo
9.III - Adagio - Lento molto
Peter Maxwell Davies String Quartet (1961)
10.Adagio - Allegro - Moderato - Allegro Moderato
Peter Maxwell Davies Hymnos (1967)
Peter Maxwell Davies The Seven Brightnesses (1975)
20.I - Presto - Allegro ritmico
21.II - Adagio - Lento - Adagio
22.III - Adagio espressivo
23.IV - Moderato
24.V - Allegro
Peter Maxwell Davies Little Quartet No. 1 (1980)
25.I - Andante
26.II - Allegro
27.III - Lento
Peter Maxwell Davies Little Quartet No. 2 (1977, revised 1987)
28.Adagio - Allegro moderato - flessibile - Adagio

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