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Peter Maxwell Davies

Publisher: Chester Music

Maxwell's Reel, with Northern Lights (1998)
Commissioned by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Chester Music Ltd
Sub Category
Large Orchestra
Year Composed
11 Minutes

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Programme Note
Peter Maxwell Davies Maxwell's Reel, with Northern Lights (1998)
The reel in question is drawn from a genuine old tune, Maxwell's Strathspey, which the composer found in an 1824 collection of Scottish melodies, and which unfolds at the start of the piece on solo cello. Variations and a bold up-tempo to the quick dance we know as a reel ultimately yield to the magic that has been promised right at the start: the northern lights take over at the end of the piece. Its inspiration comes from a walk to a community event in Hoy Hall, during which Davies saw the lights in the sky pulsing in and out of time with the sounds coming from the hall.

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  • Ensemble
    Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    Peter Maxwell Davies
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