Queen’s writer of music comes to Victoria

Sir Peter Maxwell Davies to give lecture and oversee local ensemble

Sir Peter Maxwell Davies

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

Victoria Police Department vehicle outside the headquarters building. VicPD (Black Press Media file photo)
Man arrested after Victoria restaurant worker punched, thrown to the ground

Police say woman was found lying on the sidewalk with non-life threatening injuries

Victoria police are investigating after several vehicles were smashed and a basement was flooded along lower Cook Street March 2. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria police investigating smashed vehicles, flooded basement on Cook Street

Police seeking witnesses, footage of several ‘mischief’ incidents

Victoria Police Department vehicles outside the headquarters building. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria police investigating sudden death in Beacon Hill Park

Police, paramedics responded to a report of an unresponsive person early Wednesday

Hundreds of child care spaces will be available in Greater Victoria in the coming two years. (Unsplash)
More than 300 child care spaces opening in Greater Victoria in next two years

Province announces spaces in Victoria, Sooke, Saanich and North Saanich

Victoria’s Swartz Bay terminal. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries offers cheaper, prepaid fare options

Ferry service preparing for busy terminals when travel restrictions are lifted

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of March 2

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

t
Province invests $2M in three Vancouver Island food hubs

Hub network provides shared-use processing facilities to small agri-businesses

A vial of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a family doctor office, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 in Paris. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP -Christophe Ena
Trudeau ‘optimistic’ that timeline for rollout of COVID vaccines can be accelerated

Canada set to receive more than 6M COVID-19 vaccine dose than initially expected, by end of March

Beginning late Tuesday, anti-pipeline protesters blocked the intersection of Hastings Street and Clark Drive in Vancouver. (Instagram/Braidedwarriors)
Demonstrators block key access to Vancouver port over jail for pipeline protester

They group is protesting a 90-day jail sentence handed to a fellow anti-pipeline protester

Two Vancouver police officers were struck by a car when the driver learned he was being arrested for allegedly using a fraudulent credit card to pay for food. (Vancouver Police Department)
Driver being arrested for alleged food order fraud rams Vancouver police with car

Two officers are in stable condition, suffering with soft tissue injuries following the incident

A discarded blue surgical mask is shown hanging in a bush in Montreal, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
B.C. RMT suspended for not wearing a mask after confirmed by undercover clients

College of Massage Therapists has 5 open files, said suspension necessary to protect public

Accident rates, injury claims and court costs have driven ICBC into deficit in recent years. (Black Press Media)
Judge rejects taking lawyers out of minor ICBC injury cases

Ruling the latest setback for B.C. NDP’s insurance cost reforms

Most Read