Maxwell Davies: Naxos Quartets Nos. 5 & 6

Maxwell Davies: Naxos Quartets Nos. 5 & 6

by Maggini Quartet
     
 

The ten "Naxos String Quartets" of Peter Maxwell Davies were commissioned by the label as a series, to be performed and recorded by the Maggini Quartet and issued in five volumes. One might have supposed that Maxwell Davies would have resorted to using Classical quotations and parodies, since the practice of composing string quartetsSee more details below

Overview

The ten "Naxos String Quartets" of Peter Maxwell Davies were commissioned by the label as a series, to be performed and recorded by the Maggini Quartet and issued in five volumes. One might have supposed that Maxwell Davies would have resorted to using Classical quotations and parodies, since the practice of composing string quartets in sets hearkens back to the publishing practices of the late 18th century. That fact is probably not lost on this wry composer, who has built a career on borrowing heavily from the past, and he might well have made it a point of musical commentary. Even so, any associations here are subtle, not boldly pronounced, and there are no blatant references to the legacy of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven to jolt the listener. It is still possible to discern in these compositions a sense of the great quartet tradition, at work structurally through their independent voices and balanced formal designs, yet conveyed in sound by way of modernist harmonies, modified tonality, and extended instrumental techniques. The "Naxos Quartet No. 5, Lighthouses of Orkney and Shetland" (2004) may superficially resemble a skittish Expressionist work of the Second Viennese School, despite being cast in two slow, well-proportioned movements of compelling mystery; and for all its underlying connections to Gregorian chants, the "Naxos Quartet No. 6" (2005) may bring late Beethoven to mind in its episodic format and sudden contrasts. But above all these considerations, Maxwell Davies has deeply personal things to express, and the private, introspective moods of both pieces seem to rule out public posturing or postmodernist game-playing; that is perhaps why these string quartets are quietly allusive rather than overtly stated, and the satirical vein is left untapped. The Maggini Quartet is alert to all the nuances and subtleties, and the ensemble's concentrated efforts make these performances feel fresh and spontaneous, even though they must have been intensively rehearsed to be so authoritatively executed. The reproduction is clear and vibrant, in every way up to Naxos' usual high standards.

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Product Details

Release Date:
03/21/2006
Label:
Naxos
UPC:
0747313239825
catalogNumber:
8557398

Tracks

  1. Naxos Quartet No. 6 for string quartet, J. 437  - Peter Maxwell Davies  - David Angel  - Laurence Jackson  -  Maggini Quartet  - Martin Outram  - Michal Kaznowski
  2. Naxos Quartet No. 5 for string quartet ("Lighthouses of Orkney and Shetland"), J. 432  - Peter Maxwell Davies  - David Angel  - Laurence Jackson  -  Maggini Quartet  - Martin Outram  - Michal Kaznowski

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