One of Britain's leading composers, Nicholas Maw, died peacefully at his home in Washington DC at 2 am (US time) on 19 May 2009. He was born on 5 November, 1935 in Grantham, UK. Faber Music is proud to have been his exclusive publisher since 1981.
Maw first hit the musical headlines when his work Scenes and Arias was performed at the BBC Proms in 1962. He was performed by most of the major British orchestras as well as international conductors such as Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Mark Elder, Sir Roger Norrington, Sir John Pritchard, Andre Previn, Sir Neville Marriner, Sir Andrew Davis, David Zinman, Ray Leppard - to name but a few. His orchestral work Odyssey was recorded by EMI by Sir Simon Rattle and has gone down as the longest (100 minute) continuous work in musical history.
Most recently his opera Sophie's Choice, was shown at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in 2002 in a production by Trevor Nunn, conducted by Sir Simon Rattle - to great acclaim and sold-out performances. It was since revived in Berlin, Vienna and Washington DC.
'Mr Maw's opera is an utterly admirable, affectingly conceived and beautifully realised work. The Covent Garden audience awarded him and the cast with a prolonged standing ovation. From the opening moments of the score, as the strings played subdued, luminous, tenderly tonal sustained chords, like some angelic, bittersweet chorale, Mr Maw's reverence for this material was palpable.'
New York Times (Tommasini), 2002
'Sophie's Choice is masterful and simply one of the most compelling operas I have ever seen. It already has the air of an oft-performed work, not a newly commissioned piece... Maw's sense of dramatic pacing is felt at every moment and he outstrips every other composer working today. His dialogue is easily understood yet remains profound...'
The Sunday Times (Paul Driver), 2002
'For me, Sophie's Choice is a masterly operatic achievement which embodies the most haunting and sheerly beautiful new music I've heard in an opera house for a very long time.
Oliver Knussen, 2002
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