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Peter Maxwell Davies

Publisher: Chester Music

Hadrian's Villa, Hadrian's Wall (2011)
This work was commissioned by Bath International Music Festival and BBC Radio 3. It was first performed on 30th May 2011 at the Assembly Rooms, Bath, by Kathryn Tickell (Northumbrian pipes), Joanna MacGregor (piano) and the Navarra String Quartet.
Chester Music Ltd
Works for 2-6 Players
Year Composed
5 Minutes

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Programme Note
Peter Maxwell Davies Hadrian's Villa, Hadrian's Wall (2011)
This short work is a preparatory study for a musical investigation into the Roman emperor Hadrian’s character – responsible for building the most extravagant country villa ever for himself near Rome, and for the famous wall across north England.

I have purposefully played hide-and-seek with the Northumbrian tune upon which all is based – it appears fleetingly in the first bars – and used the three instrumental colours – string quartet, piano and pipes, to express three main aspects of Hadrian’s personality. The sections appear in reverse order of composition, so that the remotest Italianate transformations slowly crystallise into a final, calm English statement.

Peter Maxwell Davies – May 2011

  • 30 MAY 2011
    Bath Music Festival
    Assembly Rooms, Bath
    Navarra Quartet
    Kathryn Tickell, Northumbrian pipes, Joanna MacGregor, piano

Perhaps not surprisingly, Maxwell Davies contrived to conceal all traces of his chosen tune. And yet, in this artful five-minute piece, it informed all his compositional decisions.
Hilary Finch, The Times,01/06/2011
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