In Praise of Max

Dejan Bogdanovich,violin Gabriele Maria Vianello,piano Virtuosity and Meditation at Kings Place
A concert dedicated to the memory of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies
A concert in the splendid Kings Place dedicated to Max by his close friend of 45 years standing .
Sylvia Junge promoted and introduced this violin recital by the distinguished Croatian violinist Dejan Bogdanovich.
Now based in Italy it was hardly suprising that he was sharing the platform with a very fine Italian pianist Gabriele Maria Vianello, from the splendidly efficient Neapolitan school of Maria Tipo.
Some very fine playing for a master violinist who regularly gives masterclasses and has many highly successful students. On the jury of  many International Competitions it was hardly surprising to find the very distinguished viola player Ian Jewel seated next to me.
He tells me he had been on the jury with Dejan in Fermo in Italy.
As Sylvia Junge had pointed out in her brief but heartfelt introduction,the Sonatina for solo violin of 2015 ,was written when Max knew that he had only a short time to live.
Fitting to remember too that the final few months of his life were spent preparing his  Symphony n.10  in Rome with Antonio Pappano and the S.Cecilia Orchestra .
Repeated in London with Pappano and the LSO.
Max loved Italy having studied in Rome with Goffredo Petrassi and returned as often as possible .
His Symphony is in fact inspired by Borromini
Jack Buckley from Rome was in the audience too to pay homage to his great friend who he had done so much to promote in Italy when he was Arts Officer at the British Council.
The Sonatina was first performed in June 2015 in St Magnus Cathedral at the Festival that he had founded on the Scottish Island where he had found the peace and solitude to compose.
It is dedicated to the memory of his great friend on Hoy ,Jack Rendall.
It is a work conceived by Fenella Hunphreys as a way of commissioning six leading British composers to write a companion piece to one of the Bach solo Sonatas or Partitas.
Tonight it was preceded by the Adagio from the Sonata in C that was Max’s chosen Bach. A very fine performance full of shade and colour and I would have loved to hear it again as an encore instead of the Soiree de Vienne in the Oistrach transcription that was offered to a very enthusiastic audience.
The final two pieces on the programme: Tchaikowsky Meditation and Valse Scherzo played with all the charm and verve of someone who had liberated himself at last from the score and could at last turn baubles into gems.
Fine performance of the Schubert Grand Duo and Saint- Saens’ overlong and rambling Sonata in D.
Very much tied to the score they did not quite find that amalgam and freedom that they found later.
Some beautiful things of course from the beautiful bass opening of the Schubert to the soaring melodic lines of the Saint Saens.
Max must have been looking on though – in fact there was magic in the air for this much loved composer,- the finest most moving performance of the evening was infact his own Sonatina.


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