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BBC Music Magazine
4½ Stars
'...Maxwell Davies devices of whooping horn glissandos and hyperactive chattering trumpets, delivered with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra's bombproof expertise; and Ben Gernon's conducting is forthright and immaculate.'
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AllMusic
'Included is an ebullient performance of one of Maxwell Davies' most popular pieces of any period, An Orkney Wedding, with Sunrise...[Hill Runes and Farewell to Stromness] are beautifully played by guitarist Sean Shibe.'
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MusicWeb International
'The programme is well chosen, excellently played and beautifully recorded, making it about the most accessible introduction to Max's music that I can think of.'
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MusicWeb International
'An Orkney Wedding, with Sunrise is a "joyous and show-stopping" piece...This performance is both refined and deliciously decadent...As a final salute to Sir Peter Maxwell Davies it could hardly be bettered.'
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SCO & Sean Shibe - Maxwell Davies: An Orkney Wedding, With Sunrise - The Arts Desk


01 October 2016
The Arts Desk
Graham Rickson

A fine tribute to a much-loved British composer

Refreshing to learn that Peter Maxwell Davies's An Orkney Wedding, with Sunrise was actually commissioned by John Williams and the Boston Pops Orchestra. Williams was already a fan, having attended the premiere of Maxwell Davies' Symphony No. 1 whilst in London recording the score for Superman. Don't dismiss it as musical fluff - it packs an emotional, uplifting punch, and this performance is a belter, Robert Jordan's bagpipes overwhelming in the final minutes. This is a lovely disc: recorded in 2015, it serves both as an eloquent tribute and an engaging introduction to a much-loved composer. Farewell to Stromness is the other well-known work here, heard in an idiomatic transcription for guitar. Guitarist Sean Shibe also plays Hill Runes, an enigmatic, dark five-movement work inspired by a George Mackay Brown poem.

Two late orchestral pieces complete the CD. Last Door of Light is a powerful meditation on climate change and its effects, a study in "individual and communal vulnerability" where the folksy opening melody is ultimately meaningless and the promised peroration never quite arrives. The overture Ebb of Winter was one of the composer's final works, "a reaction to the Orkney climate and influenced by Orkney folk music". Predictably it's a somewhat chilly work, the lucid brilliance of the orchestral writing never quite compensating for the prevailing coolness. It was composed for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, whose flawless, fearless playing under Ben Gernon is a consistent pleasure. Maxwell Davies novices could do worse than starting here.


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Ben GernonBen Gernon
Scottish Chamber OrchestraScottish Chamber Orchestra
Sean ShibeSean Shibe
Maxwell Davies: An Orkney Wedding, With SunriseMaxwell Davies: An Orkney Wedding, With Sunrise