Max ~ A Celebration today in St Johns
A hall full this morning to celebrate the much loved Peter Maxwell Davis
So many heartfelt words from the musicians and simple people that he had touched in his long solitary life on the Orkney Island his chosen home and the place where he could find the peace necessary to compose most of his vast output .As he said as far away from London and he could get.
Beginning with the beautiful Lullabye for Lucy written in 1981 and here performed by the Centre for Young Musicians Chamber Choir directed by Lynda Richardson .
This tribute was affectionately introduced by Robert Saxton and there followed a message from Alexander Goehr who could not be present in person.
Three of the Five Pieces for Piano op 2 written for John Ogdon in 1956 and here these difficult pieces reminiscent of Schoenberg ably performed by Sebastian Black .
A fellow student from Max’s student days with Goffredo Petrassi in Rome. Giuseppe Rebecchini ,the architect gave an amusing testimony of their lifelong friendship and Max’s love of Italy.
Neil Martin a former student from the early days when Max taught at Circencester Grammar School told of their fortune to have such an enlightened school master .As did Rubens Askenar one of Max’s recent students from the Royal Academy of Music
Charlie Dale Harris played The Seven Brightnesses for solo clarinet written for Alan Hacker in 1975.
One of the last pieces The Golden Solstice premiered at St Magnus Cathedral in May 2016 here received its first london performance .
A magical piece beautifully performed by the Centre for Young Musicians Chamber Choir directed again by Lynda Richardson with Joseph Beech at the organ .
Testimony from two distinguished composers :Sally Beamish and the actual Music Laureate Judith Weir was followed by the one movement from the unfinished quartet of 2016 played by the Behn Quartet .
Finally a moving ,amusing and absorbingly real description from Sir Anthony Pappano of the preparation and eventual performances in London and Rome of the tenth Symphony when Maxwell Davis was fighting for his life.
“Alla ricerca di Borromini” testified to his life long love of Italy since his early apprenticeship with Goffredo Petrassi.
But when Pappano sat at the piano to play so beautifully the simple Farewell to Stromness there was not a dry eye in the house.
How true it is that music reaches where words are not enough…..even with someone so eloquent and communicative as Pappano