Maxwell Davies: Linguae Ignis & Vesalii Icones

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Maxwell Davies: Linguae Ignis & Vesalii Icones



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Release date:

1st Aug 2011




60 minutes


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Maxwell Davies: Linguae Ignis & Vesalii Icones

Davies, Peter Maxwell:

Linguae Ignis for cello solo and instrumental ensemble

World Première Recording

Vittorio Ceccanti (solo cello)

Vesalii Icones

Music-Theatre work for dancer (ad libitum), solo cello and instrumental ensemble

Vittorio Ceccanti (solo cello)

Fantasia on a Ground and Two Pavans

Realisation for instrumental ensemble after Henry Purcell

Contempoartensemble, Mauro Ceccanti


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A new disc of instrumental works from the Master of the Queen’s Music, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies.

Linguae Ignis is an instrumental motet for cello and ensemble, and was premièred in 2002 by the forces that perform it on this disc. This beautiful, elegiac work sees Maxwell Davies entwining two Pentecostal Plainchants around each other, and gradually generating rich dance patterns, to which the solo cello responds with eloquent reserve.

Dating from much earlier, Vesalii Icones again has a strong rôle for solo cello, and also a solo dancer. It’s a set of fourteen dances, based on illustrations by Vesalius, that play out the Stations of the Cross in music of profound ritualistic expression. By contrast the Fantasia and Two Pavans provide a sardonic and provocative gloss on Purcell.

Peter Maxwell Davies: Linguae Ignis

Linguae Ignis

Peter Maxwell Davies: Vesalii icones

I. The Agony in the Garden

II. The Betrayal of Judas

III. Christ and Pilate

IV. The Flagellation

V. Christ Condemned to Death

VI. The Mocking of Christ

VII. Christ Receives the Cross

VIII. St Veronica Wipes His Face

IX. Christ Prepared for Death

X. Christ Nailed to the Cross

XI. The Death of Christ

XII. The Descent from the Cross

XIII. The Entombment of Christ

XIV. The Resurrection - Antichrist

Peter Maxwell Davies: Fantasia on a Ground and 2 Pavans (after Purcell)


Pavan No. 1: Quite slow

Pavan No. 2: Quickly

Classic FM Magazine

November 2011


“prepare to be dazzled, amused and bemused. From the tranquillity of the cello's plainsong in Linguae Ignis (a world premiere recording) to microtonal and prepared-piano jazz and blues in the Purcell tribute, scarcely a minute goes by without 'Max' surprising us...The Italian ensemble and especially solo cellist Vittorio Ceccanti bring the music prancing off the page.”

Financial Times

30th July 2011


“palpable commitment and finesse.”

Sunday Times

14th August 2011


“It is good to have this sensitive new, and affordable, recording of [Vesalii Icones], alive to its wealth of ironic nuance.”

The Guardian

4th August 2011


“Vesalii Icones is one of Peter Maxwell Davies's supreme achievements.”

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