PETER MAXWELL DAVIES (b.1934): Symphony No. 10 for Baritone, Chorus and Orchestra “Alla ricerca di Borromini”, ANDRZEJ PANUFNIK (1914-1991): Symphony No. 10.
Catalogue Number: 09R008
Label: LSO Live
Format: SACD hybrid
Description: Davies' huge, four-movement symphony is a very personal work for the composer; largely composed in a small hospital room during treatment for the leukemia that almost killed him, it celebrates the life and work of Borromini, architect of some of Rome's most distinctive Baroque churches, which Davies has long admired for their ingenious proportions which make relatively small spaces seem imposingly large. The work is approachable, in Davies' recent style, and far from atonal, with an impressive sense of - yes - architecture as well as a potent narrative dramaturgy reflecting Borromini's idiosyncratic work and controversial and ultimately tragic life and career. The expansive first section is for orchestra alone, with the hammering of masons constructing towering spaces vividly depicted; the subsequent movements, featuring the composer's trademark appropriation of motifs from early music sources and some very beautiful - and very tonal - passages of 'church music', comprise a dramatic narrative constructed of Borromini's own writings and texts celebrating his work, ending with the choir movingly intoning the names of the buildings that form his legacy. The apt coupling of Panufnik's final symphony epitomises the very idea of 'sounding architecture', beginning with resounding fanfares and moving through a succession of familiar Panufnik gestures with the exquisite balance of cumulative tension and otherworldly calm, propulsive climaxes, serene hymns and precisely proportioned structure for which the composer is justly renowned. Italian-English texts. Markus Butter (baritone), London Symphony Chorus and Orchestra; Antonio Pappano.