msv 28503
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AVE MARIS STELLA : Chamber music by
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies

Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Master of the Queen's Music, is without doubt one of the most important composers of the current age. This new disc presents the first new recording of his major work Ave Maris Stella since Max's own Fires of London recording over 30 years ago, and the premiere recordings of three fine and varied works.


AUDIO SAMPLE: Ave Maris Stella (opening)







Psalm 124
Dove, Star-Folded
Economies of Scale
Ave Maris Stella

review extracts: for full reviews click here
"Absolutely superb" - Malcolm Hayes (BBC Music Magazine)
“One of [the composer’s] profoundest and most luminous works…it comes over here with an idiomatic ease and brilliance that make the work seem truly classical. Vintage Max indeed.” ×××× - Paul Driver (The Sunday Times)
“Ave Maris Stella is one of Peter Maxwell Davies's greatest achievements, and one of the most powerful of all instrumental works. It's a tough, thrillingly sustained musical argument, and a piece that's as challenging for the performers as it is for the first-time listener, but the Gemini players seem to be totally on top of its thematic intricacies and finely honed lyricism.” – Andrew Clements (The Guardian)

“The performances by the members of Gemini are superbly committed and convey the excitement and timbral beauty of this music in a very impressive manner. Balance and blend is superb and well captured. This first-rate disc is recommended to active listeners with open ears.” - William Nichols (The Clarinet, USA)

“Good news week for contemporary music. Great music passionately played by the chamber ensemble Gemini… this is classic early Max” - Bob Shingleton (
"This is the kind of work that gives challenging music a good name. High octane, high tone, high calibre listening throughout." - Chris Spector (Mid West Record)
“Ave Maris Stella, written in 1975, is a signature piece and a tour-de-force… a sphinx-like compositional enigma, brilliantly decoded by Gemini.” - Philip Clark (Classic FM Magazine)
“ Composed in 1975, the instrumental sextet Ave Maris Stella is one of the composer's greatest achievements. The Gemini Ensemble make this tough, knotty composition ... totally compelling.” – Andy Hamilton (The Wire)

“A modern recording of Ave Maris Stella has long been needed. The impact of Gemini's performance, in this properly concentrated acoustic environment, is more than enough to explain the high place accorded to the work.” – Arnold Whittall (Gramophone)

“In a way this disc is iconic contemporary music of our times - challenging for performers and for listeners but not unfriendly. It gives a sense at the end that you have not wasted your time and that you have heard pieces worth their space in the world and the disc a space on your over-loaded shelves. You feel that the music says something and that the players believe in it. The recording is first class and the highly professional presentation of accompanying booklet and photographs helpful and serious. All in all a deservedly high quality product delivered from the hands of top musicians.” - Gary Higginson (MusicWeb)

“Peter Maxwell Davies, the enfant terrible of British music back in the 1970s, has since become an established composer. Psalm 24 ... is quite quiet music, gentle and beautifully arranged. Economies of scale... does have an affinity with Messiaen. [In Ave Maris Stella] the composer creates some remarkable and fascinating instrumental blends. The generally quiet (one might say almost subdued) mood of this recital draws listeners inward rather than pushing them away.” – Lynn Rene Bayley (Fanfare)

“Despite its diatonic roots, the perpetual variation concept and 70s chromatic serialism make imposing demands on [the] listener's patience and attention ... but people who don't care about such things could still appreciate the sheer virtuosity involved. You will certainly value this excellent performance.” – “Gimbel” (American Record Guide)

“Gemini make a fine noise: playing with great panache on this disc, and with a clear affinity with the composer's craftsman-like idiom. The studio recording, while a little on the dry side, is also very good.” - Dominy Clements (MusicWeb)