Temenos, with Mermaids and Angels

Sir Peter Maxwell Davies (1934)

Temenos, with Mermaids and Angels 1998

0033 - 2220 - timp - perc(2) - strings
Duration 
15
Solist 
Genre 
Commissioner 
Publisher 

Temenos was composed last November (1998), for Richard Davies and the BBC Philharmonic. It is dedicated to the memory of Erika Verrier, who died in early childhood.

The title refers to my new home, on Sanday in Orkney - a piece of land cut off - a sanctuary. This was one of the first works I wrote there, after moving from Hoy, where I had lived for over a quarter of a century. It is not too difficult, with narrowed eyes and a childlike effort of imagination, to see the seals below the house and the seabirds above it as mermaids and angels.

A quiet, purely orchestral slow introduction leads to the flute's first entry, in a longer, quicker movement of virtuoso writing for the soloist, and fleeting, glancing colours in the orchestra. A slow middle movement is heralded by a fanfare, with long, expressive lines for the flute, and the last movement, again fast, has music becoming almost naively childlike and extravert. The flow is interrupted by a short cadenza, and the work makes as if to finish in the manner of a fairly conventional concerto. The strings undermine this is a sustained, quiet chord, above which the flute line hover, in some kind of dark, provisional tranquility.

Temenos is played right through, without a break.

Sir Peter Maxwell Davies

Performances 
17.5.99 National Concert Hall, Dublin, Ireland: Richard Davis (flute)/BBC Philharmonic Orchestra/Sir Peter Maxwell Davies
17.6.06 St Magnus Festival, Orkney: BBC Philharmonic/James MacMillan
13.2.09 Rotterdam, Netherlands: Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra/James MacMillan
3
Clarinet
3rd bass clarinet
3
Bassoon
3rd contrabassoon
2
Horn
2
Trumpet
2
Trombone
1
Timpani
2
Percussion
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