Maxwell's Reel, with Northern Lights

Sir Peter Maxwell Davies (1934)

Maxwell's Reel, with Northern Lights 1998

3333 - 4331 - timp - perc(3) - harp - strings
Duration 
11
Genre 
Publisher 

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.

Performances 
13.5.98 Barbican Hall, London: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Sir Peter Maxwell Davies
30.1.03 Stavanger, Norway: Stavanger Symphony Orchestra/Sir Peter Maxwell Davies
9.2.03 Berlin, Germany: Deutsches Sinfonie Orchester/Martyn Brabbins
20.6.03 St Magnus Festival, Orkney: BBC Philharmonic Orchestra/Sir Peter Maxwell Davies
selected performances only.
3
Flute
2nd doubling piccolo, 3rd alto flute
3
Oboe
3rd cor anglais
3
Clarinet
3rd bass clarinet
3
Bassoon
3rd contrabassoon
4
Horn
3
Trumpet
3
Trombone
1
Tuba
1
Timpani
3
Percussion
1
Harp
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