Sir Peter Maxwell Davies: Sacred Choral Works

In the 1960s few would have predicted that Peter Maxwell Davies would eventually write a set of Evening Canticles; yet religious texts have always been of fundamental importance to the composer, as this disc vividly demonstrates by bringing together sacred masterworks from both ends of his career.

Tough, uncompromising and of surpassing beauty, Davies’ major contributions to the Anglican repertoire are given thrilling voice by these fearless champions of contemporary liturgical music.

"Davies is a composer with a religious sensibility who doesn’t believe in religion, and that tension of heart and mind informs his writing. It takes extreme form in works for actual liturgical use, such as the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis...recorded here, impressively, by the choir that commissioned them"

"There’s no better introduction to the productive tensions that have fuelled Sir Peter Maxwell Davies’s career as a composer…this new recording – performed with a high degree of competence by all concerned – is even more welcome than it would otherwise be. The Edinburgh choristers…make light of the music’s demands."

"The Master of the Queen’s Music would not find many more sympathetic advocates of his compositions in all Her Majesty’s Realm"


"This is the first recording of those canticles and the choir doesn't sound even remotely intimidated by the difficulty of the music. It's on Edinburgh-based label Delphian, which really has found an excellent balance with the choir as well."

"Once again the Choir rises to the musical challenges that the composer has set and this release will be of great interest to all who enjoy contemporary choral music."


"The Choir of St Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh, has been a very active supporter of new music in recent years, with recent releases devoted to Gabriel Jackson and Peter Maxwell Davies. The choir makes a compelling sound, with a beautifully open and powerful tone from the trebles (especially beautiful are the treble solos in the Magnificat and in O Magnum Mysterium, which evince remarkable artistry and control)."


"Students of contemporary cathedral music should buy this without fail, as it is hard to see how the performances could be bettered."


Producer: Paul Baxter
Recording venue: St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, Edinburgh
Recording dates: 11-12 October & 17 December 2004 (choir); 23 November 2004 (instrumental ensemble); 20 December 2004 (solo organ)
Physical format: Jewel case
Number of discs: 1
Number of tracks: 14
First UK release date: 1 August 2006
Catalogue No: DCD34037
Total playing time: 1:11:22

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