'One of the most gifted post-war British composers.' Gramophone
A new Nicholas Maw recording from William Boughton and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales has just been released on Lyrita Records, shedding important light on the wonderful music of this neglected master.
'This is a terrific disc. It is a little over 10 years since the death of Maw, one of the most gifted post-war British composers… Voices of Memory (1995) is one of the hidden gems in Maw’s output, a variation set written to celebrate the tercentenary of Purcell’s death. The sheer brilliance of the compositional ingenuity (on a theme from his own Life Studies rather than Purcell) and acuity of orchestration should place it in every British orchestra’s repertoire, as this coruscating performance under William Boughton trumpets loud and clear.’
Gramophone (Guy Rickards), May 2020
‘If you aren’t stirred by the panache of Maw’s half-hour Sonata for solo violin, I’d suggest a visit to the doctor. Mackenzie is a most fearless and eloquent executant of this wonderfully expressive array of contrasting textures, colours and violin techniques, fully worth placing alongside the 20th century masterworks of Ysaÿe and Bartòk… On the orchestral front, the variation set Voices of Memory (1995) offers another of May’s impressively deft juggling displays within a large-span structure, well serviced by Boughton and the BBC NOW.'
BBC Music Magazine (Geoff Brown), June 2020
A bright and boldly contoured curtain raiser, Maw’s Spring Music (1983) burgeons with lyrical vitality. Lasting 14 minutes and scored for a modest orchestra (double wind, four horns, three trumpets, three trombones and tuba, timpani, harp and strings), the work takes its cue from the well-known line of Dylan Thomas that for its composer seems to sum up the energy and beauty of spring: ‘The force that through the green fuse drives the flower.’