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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully intense music., 7 Feb 2013
This review is from: Maxwell Davies: Symphony No. 3/ Cross Lane Fair (Naxos: 8.572350) (Mark Jordan/ Rob Lea/ BBC Philharmonic Orchestra/ Peter Maxwell Davies) (Audio CD)
The 3rd Symphony, composed in 1984, is the longest of all Maxwell Davies' symphonies lasting nearly 58 minutes. As with all the composers symphonies, the structure is not what you might be use to, in this case we open with an opening movement which begins slowly and gradually gets faster over its nineteen minutes, this is followed by two shorter fast central movements, before ending with the 22 minute slow final movement. This bookending the work with slow music works well and gives the symphony an intensity and immediacy which is sometimes missing in his other works, making the 3rd my favourite of all Maxwell Davies symphonies, well the ones I have heard! It is coupled with a sparkling performance of one of the composer's most popular works, Cross Lane Fair, given by the those who gave the premier of the work, Mark Jordan, Rob Lea and the BBC Philharmonic, who are on impressive form.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FORMIDABLE BUT HUMAN, 28 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Maxwell Davies: Symphony No. 3/ Cross Lane Fair (Naxos: 8.572350) (Mark Jordan/ Rob Lea/ BBC Philharmonic Orchestra/ Peter Maxwell Davies) (Audio CD)
This recording of the Maxwell Davies Third Symphony conducted by the composer is a great improvement on the one by Edward Downes, which I have owned for a lot of years and never really liked. The reason I fancy is to be found in a comparison of the notes for the two recordings. Those for the Downes are extremely abstract, full of the proportions of Renaissance churches, which influenced the composer in his shaping of the piece. Those for this recording still mention the Renaissance churches, but concentrate much more on its being composed in wild surroundings in Orkney with the northern ocean all round and vast gales blowing. This seems to carry over into Maxwell Davies' conducting, which is a great deal more relaxed and human than the Downes;and full of moments of weird light and weather and the strangeness of nature. Oddly English one might say for a revolutionary modernist of the Fifties and Sixties. It recalls to me at least the last three Vaughan Williams Symphonies and indeed the much ignored Arthur Butterworth Viola Concerto (recorded on Duttton), which is more or less contemporary with this symphony. However, these are composers that are unlikely to be in Maxwell Davies' own favourites and this is very much his symphony and perhaps all the more formidable for it.

If I am critical it is to wonder if the symphony is not just too long. I have never been a lover of Bruckner and Mahler, which Maxwell Davies and his generation regarded as an article of faith; and I wonder if the composer has not simply made the last movement too long. Nevertheless every I listen to this formidable piece in this performance I do feel it has been a powerful experience.

I am less enthusiastic about Cross Lane Fair, which certainly on my stereo (though I wonder if it would work better live) is uncomfortably disssonant and not particularly light.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating - musical marmite, 15 April 2013
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Philip Chadwick - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Maxwell Davies: Symphony No. 3/ Cross Lane Fair (Naxos: 8.572350) (Mark Jordan/ Rob Lea/ BBC Philharmonic Orchestra/ Peter Maxwell Davies) (Audio CD)
You will either love this or .............
I first came across Davies via the Naxos quartets - I have a weakness for box sets!
I don't know why I love his sound world, but I do
Just try 1 of this series of cds, at this price you can't lose
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