• Peter Maxwell Davies
  • Maxwell's Reel, with Northern Lights (1998)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)

Commissioned by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

  • 2(pic)+afl.2+ca.2+bcl.2+cbn4331timp.3perchpstr
  • 11 min

Programme Note

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.

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Maxwell's Reel, with Northern Lights

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