Queen’s writer of music comes to Victoria

Sir Peter Maxwell Davies to give lecture and oversee local ensemble

Sir Peter Maxwell Davies

The man who writes music for the Queen of England will make his first trip to Victoria to see a local ensemble première a composition he wrote for them.

Sir Peter Maxwell Davies – whose duties as the Master of the Queen’s Music recently included writing a symphony for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrating Queen Elizabeth II’s 60th year on the throne – was commissioned by Victoria’s Aventa Ensemble to write a piece for its horn trio.

Aventa artistic director and conductor Bill Linwood waited six years for the music to be written. In that time he never actually spoke to Sir Davies directly.

“We agreed (through Davies’ agents) on the instrumentation we wanted, and from there he was given carte blanche,” Linwood explained. “We really had no idea what we’d get.”

The sheet music for a 15-minute composition called Stormwatch, Stormfall arrived last spring, with a comment from Davies explaining it was inspired by the unusually strong winter storms that had blown amid his remote home in the Orkney Islands, north of Scotland.

The three musicians it was written for – Darnell Linwood on French horn, violinist John Lowry and pianist Miranda Wong – spent their summer piecing together how the music was meant to sound.

“It’s never been recorded, so we have nothing to work off,” Darnell said. “It’s like putting together a puzzle and hoping you have the pieces right.”

The trio will perform the piece for Davies a few days before its public debut.

“He might tell us to bring out certain parts, play something louder or softer, or breathe at a different spot – it’s not likely we’ve been playing it exactly right, but I’m hoping we’re close,” Darnell said. “It’s nerve-wracking. You want him to be proud of what we’ve done with his music.”

The world première of Stormwatch, Stormfall is set for Tuesday, Nov. 1, 8 p.m., at University of Victoria’s Phillip T. Young Recital Hall in the MacLaurin Building. There will also be a pre-concert talk 45 minutes before the show. Tickets are $20 or $18 for students and seniors.

Additionally, Davies will speak on his life and work on Oct. 31, 7:30 p.m., in UVic’s Bob Wright Centre in the Sciences building, a free event arranged by music professor Christopher Butterfield, who saw Davies speak in England many years back.

“He’s very personable and entertaining, and he’s had a long and productive career,” Butterfield said. “When I’d heard he’d be in Victoria, I just thought it would be a shame not to have him speak.”

The 77-year-old composer has written music for operas, ballets and musical theatre. He’s composed eight symphonies, 14 concertos and several orchestral works. Widely recognized as one of the best living composers, Davies was knighted in 1987 and took his position in the Royal Household in 2004.

editor@oakbaynews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

West Shore RCMP searching for missing Langford man

The 59-year-old man was last seen Aug. 23 and was reported missing to police Sept. 20

Saanich police searching for high-risk missing man

The 35-year-old was last seen at his Saanich residence on Sept. 15

After 53 years, Saanich Jr. B team rebrands as Predators

Saanich Predators Junior B hockey team navigates COVID, culture

UPDATED: Man dies from injuries at Customs House construction site in Victoria

Investigation continues into the circumstance of man’s death

New Sooke library project awarded to Nanaimo-based company

No construction timeline announced by contractor

Liberals vow wage-subsidy extension to 2021, revamp of EI system in throne speech

Canadian labour market was hammered by pandemic, when lockdowns in the spring led to a loss of 3 million jobs

Horgan blasts B.C. Greens for refusing youth overdose detention

Lack of support key to B.C. election call, NDP leader says

Canada’s active COVID-19 cases top 10,000 as daily new cases triple over the past month

Dr. Tam repeated her warning to young people, who have made up the majority of recent cases

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Sept. 22

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Grand jury indicts police officer in Breonna Taylor death

Officer Brett Hankison was charged with three counts of wanton endangerment

First 8 months of fatal overdoses in B.C. have now exceeded 2019 death toll

Nine people died every two days in August, BC Coroners Service data shows

Most Read