Aquarius/Cleobury

Aquarius/Cleobury

Maxwell Davies: Suite From The Boyfriend etc

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(Naxos)

Here's a very welcome and timely reissue, following on from my two-week assessment of the work of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies in the Saturday edition of The Herald. Naxos seems to have gone into overdrive reissuing Maxwell Davies recordings, and this one gives a broad picture of Max's various musical activities outside the large-scale symphonic sphere. There is an outstanding performance by Nicholas Cleobury's Aquarius ensemble of Max's dance band arrangement of The Boyfriend (the Ken Russell film), packed with Charlestons, foxtrots and delicious music, sparklingly orchestrated, plus the composer's potent and threatening movie score for Russell's The Devils, the concentrated Seven In Nomine and, in another world altogether, his beautiful piano miniature Farewell To Stromness, played by the great man himself. The variety extends to extracts from The Yellow Cake Review, a piece with a political edge, being Max's contribution to the successful campaign against uranium mining in Orkney.

Michael Tumelty