London Symphony premieres Davies’ new symphony, his tenth

Posted on: February 5, 2014

“Two years ago when Peter Maxwell Davies … produced a Ninth Symphony he was asked, repeatedly, if he shouldn’t be worried about the ‘Curse of the Ninth’: a long-cherished myth of classical music claiming that if you manage to write nine symphonies you probably won’t live to complete a 10th,” writes Michael White in Wednesday’s (2/5) New York Times. “Famously rational for a creative artist, Mr. Davies laughed at the idea. Then he collapsed and was taken to the hospital. The diagnosis: cancer. But the curse didn’t prevail.… He forced himself to get to work on Symphony No. 10. And Sunday night this work had its premiere: by the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Antonio Pappano, with Mr. Davies in attendance…. Coming in the composer’s 80th year, notated on what might have been his deathbed, this piece is a meditation on mortality…. This [symphony] speaks with an oblique, evasive lyricism that demands alert ears. But the dazzling color range and grand dramatic gestures in the writing supply aural landmarks. And to listen carefully is to appreciate the clarity of thought and purpose with which Mr. Davies orders his emotions.”

Posted February 5, 2014