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Maxwell Davies: Naxos Quartets Box set

2.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Conductor: -
  • Composer: Maxwell Davies
  • Audio CD (28 Sept. 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 5
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B002NFECKY
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 139,999 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. I. Adagio - Allegro
  2. II. Largo
  3. III. Allegro Molto
  4. I. Lento - Allegro
  5. II. Lento Flessibile
  6. III. Allegro
  7. IV. Lento Flessibile

Disc: 2

  1. March
  2. In Nomine
  3. Four Inventions and a Hymn
  4. Fugue
  5. Naxos Quartet No. 4, 'Children's Games'

Disc: 3

  1. I. Largo
  2. II. Lento
  3. I. Allegro
  4. II. Allegro Moderato: Dominica Tertia Adventus, Antiphona
  5. III. Presto
  6. IV. Adagio Molto
  7. V. Andante: In Die Nativitatis
  8. VI. Allegro

Disc: 4

  1. I. Adagio Molto, 'S. Carlo Alle Quattro Fontane I'
  2. II. Adagio, 'S. Giovanni Dei Fiorentini, Chiesa Inferiore'
  3. III. Lento Molto, 'S. Giovanni in Laterano'
  4. IV. Adagio, 'Oratorio Dei Filippini'
  5. V. Lento, 'S. Ivo Alla Sapienza'
  6. VI. Adagio, 'Scorsa Secolare - Palazzo Falconieri'
  7. VII. Adagio, 'Postludio - S. Carlo Alle Quattro Fontane II'
  8. Naxos Quartet No. 8

Disc: 5

  1. I. Allegro
  2. II. Largo Flessibile
  3. III. Presto
  4. IV. Lento
  5. V. Alla Marcia
  6. VI. Allegro
  7. I. Broken Reel: Allegro
  8. II. Slow Air and Rant: Adagio Non Troppo
  9. III. Passamezzo Farewell: Adagio Flessibile
  10. IV. Deil Stick Da Minister: Allegro
  11. V. Hornpipe Unfinished: Allegro Moderato

Product Description

Product Description

Peter Maxwell Davies is universally acknowledged as one of the foremost composers of our time, and is currently Master of the Queen s Music. His musical idiom has been described by The New York Times as a combination of medieval mysticism, modernist rigour and happy accessibility . Maxwell Davies s 10-quartet cycle commissioned by Naxos is now collected in this 5-CD boxed set. The composer has written of Quartet No 10, in no way must this be a last quartet. I needed to leave the door open: I had enjoyed writing the Naxos Quartets so much, and perhaps even learned a thing or two, that more could, in theory, eventually flourish .

Review

The Maggini perform with the no-holds-barred commitment and jaw-dropping technical acumen we have come to expect from them throughout this massive project. --Gramophone

Peter Maxwell Davies Naxos Quartet cycle, now complete on disc, make a hugely varied sequence in mood, manner, scale and inspiration --The Guardian

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Naxos push their commission of Maxwell Davies' quartets to its final conclusion by gathering them all into one box set, selling it slightly cheaper than the five separate discs put together. Those who are planning to get them all may as well get this - and you get a marvellous cardboard box with it as well!

Anyhow, highlights include the 2nd quartet, the 5th, the 7th and the 9th. For anyone just seeking one disc, try the first (the 1st and 2nd quartets). The musical language of all the quartets is tough, sinewy and dense. Frankly, it can try one's patience at points, and one sometimes gets the impression that the works can be a bit 'samey'. However, there is generally a fairly acceptable level of invention. Some of the quartets are distinctly uninspiring, however. Quartets 4 and 8, for example, seem to meander through pages of dross without much to lighten the journey. Quartet no. 3, written on the invasion of Iraq, has some good passages, but lets itself down with weak outer movements. No. 6 is weirdly inconsistent in quality (I have reviewed in detail elsewhere on Amazon), and no. 10, despite its likeably puckish humour, and a sterlingly superb 'Passamezzo Farewell', comes across as unnervingly bizarre.

Overall Maxwell Davies' project was interesting in its exposure of his music, his exposure of material more speculative than some of his early stuff, and of course it presented us with some really strong music. But the quality is inconsistent, and some of the music comes across as repetitious. In a discussion with the reviewer N. E. M. Goulder, he pointed out that a commission demands a time limit, and that this can lead to inconsistency, whereas when Maxwell Davies didn't worry about where the next commission came from - in his earlier days, he went to live in the Orkneys, and became totally self-sufficient, growing his own crops and so forth - he produced some of his strongest music.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I was fascinated by this project from the start and at an early stage decided I would wait for its completion and then purchase the complete set of quartets. Those few remarks should indicate that I anticipated a rewarding musical experience from the composer’s application to what may be considered the most expressive of all musical forms.

The composer has provided extensive liner notes about his involved and complex musical structures and methods (maybe these lengthy explanations should have sounded alarm bells even before I began to listen! Good music communicates without the need for lengthy explanations.) The notes give proof that the composer invested his skill and soul in the composition of these ten quartets. He clearly knew what he was about. My regret is that as a listener I gather little of his intricate methods or emotional states.

In short I find that these pieces rarely conjure landscapes, seascapes, or any definite emotional state. Too often listening is a tedious and frustrating experience. I have no doubt that the composer (as he says) was influenced in his work by the Beethoven late quartets. I can believe these quartets are ‘from the heart’. The sad fact is only very rarely do they speak ‘to the heart’.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x966fe2ac) out of 5 stars 2 reviews
HASH(0x988dc87c) out of 5 stars Chamber Music Milestone 29 Mar. 2016
By simone belcampo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This box set of 10 interlinked but free-standing string quartets marks a milestone: for the composer Peter Maxwell Davies, for the Maggini Quartet, and for the Naxos record company that saw the cycle through from its inception around 2000 to its completion in 2008. Each of the 5 discs contains two quartets; there are 39 movements in all, and the total playing time is just under 322 minutes. It is a truly Proustian project that seems to have brought the best in all concerned (I haven't checked, though, with the musical scores). If anything, the works get better as the cycle proceeds (I once put this to the composer, who was by no means displeased). Davies explores well-known preoccupations in fresh ways, effects an extraordinary synthesis of many contradictory styles, and is constantly innovative; in turn the highly profficient players give their all. There are clear, but occasionally gnomic notes by the composer (without music examples to guide us, alas), and the discs are well produced. This is music, of course, that will always be in part hermetically sealed - Davies was magus as well as master of the Queen's music - and is perpetually in thrall to the inner demons that romp through even the most tranquil passages (only the 'little quartet' within the 9th - ie the 3rd, 4th and 5th movements - seem free of them): yet it breathes well, is constantly inventive in its textures, and has delightful character-pieces en route, from the 'heather' music of the 1st to the unfinished hornpipe of the 10th. A favourite movement? I especially enjoy the death of the Roman architect Borromini in the 7th, followed by the largo flessibile (2nd movement) of the 9th, though these are not the only candidates. Much to exlore - and much worth exploring!
2 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x974ab078) out of 5 stars Wonderful 22 Nov. 2011
By Michael Gallagher - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The composer of this music is masterful! Genius! Good listening music especially late at night. This is what one can call magical music.
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