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Peter Maxwell Davies

Publisher: Chester Music

House of Winter (1986)
commissioned by the King's Singers with funds provided by the Ford Motor Co. Ltd
Text Writer
George Mackay Brown
Chester Music Ltd
Chorus a cappella / Chorus plus 1 instrument
Year Composed
10 Minutes
Solo Instrument(s)
2 Altos [1=soprano], Tenor, 3 Basses

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Score Score

Programme Note
Peter Maxwell Davies House of Winter (1986)
This Orkney Christmas cycle can be sung equally by a sextet or choir (male or mixed).
The setting is largely homphonic, in Davies’s 'adult' modal style and with a characteristic inventiveness of vocal scoring, as in the storm sequence, with its whistling upper voices and eruptive bass line.

Read about this work at

This is a setting of four Christmas poses by George Mackay Brown, written especially for the King’s Singers and first performed at the St Magnus Festival on 23 June1986 at East Church, Kirkwall. The commission was generously sponsored by the Ford Motor Company Limited. The music is continuous, and though scored for unaccompanied voices, it becomes almost orchestral in evocation of the clam, frozen stillness of an Orkney winter on the one hand, and the wildness of a December storm on the other.

© Peter Maxwell Davies
April 1995

  • Ensemble
    The King's Singers
    Andrew Swaits, treb
    Signum Classics:
  • 17 JUN 2017
    St Magnus Festival
    St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall, Orkney, UK
    BBC Singers
    Sofi Jeannin , conductor

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