World Premiere Recordings!
Edward Albert, baritone
Opera Sacra Buffalo
conducted by Charles Peltz
Karen Bentley, violin
Susan Royal, flutes, piccolo
John Fullam, clarinet, bass-clarinet
Ted Mook, cello
Stephen Drury, piano, celesta
Michael Pugliese, percussion
Children’s Band directed by Matthew Cool
String Quartet (1952)
The Arditti Quartet
Peter Maxwell Davies has received much deserved attention in recent years as one of England’s greatest living composers, with many recordings of his music appearing on various labels. Mode is especially proud to add two previously unrecorded works to Davies’ catalog.
The String Quartet from 1952 is Davies’ earliest published composition written when he was 18; a work which remained unplayed for many years until the Arditti Quartet took it up and performed it for the composer on a special occasion. Yet this is no typical “student” work–it is a whirlwind movement which already looks forward to the style of the composer to come, with dancing cross-rhythms and hints of Bartok, jazz and Indian music (which Davies later wrote a dissertation on).
Le Jongleur de Notre Dame of 1978 is from an important period of Davies’ work. Written and scored for his special ensemble of that time, The Fires of London, it is a virtuoso theater-piece. The libretto, here by the composer, is based on the French tale by Anatole France about a juggler who performs his act before the Virgin Mary and gains her blessing. In Le Jongleur, the juggler is a mime with musical counterparts. The narrative is carried by The Abbot (a baritone), and other brothers represented by the flute, clarinet and percussion. This cheerfully unpretentious work opens and closes with an Overture and Recessional performed by a children’s band, who march in (and out), to great sonic effect, of the church where the recording took place.
The Opera Sacra ensemble consists of some of the best American New Music performers, including Stephen Drury (keyboards), Ted Mook (cello), Karen Bentley (violin) and Michael Pugliese (percussion), as well as conductor Charles Peltz.
The CD contains liner notes by critic, musicologist and Davies’ expert Paul Griffiths.