"...One hesitates to use the word ‘authoritative’, but the latter series—conducted by the composer himself—certainly qualifies. Factor in very good modern recordings and fine playing and it seems that Naxos are on to another winner. With a strong narrative, unexpected, ear-pricking touches and—in the Vegas piece—a twinkle in its eye, there’s much to tease and please in these scores. Great fun; a reminder of the composer’s relaxed, more genial side."
Dan Morgan - MusicWeb-International.com - December 2012
"...Maxwell Davies’s orchestral colourisation is always inspired and evocative of the dramatic seascapes of his home on Orkney…the First is vivid in its modernistically-inclined representation of the flows, sounds and firths that surround the islands. The work as a whole becomes more accessible and alluring with every reacquaintance. The BBC Philharmonic in the safe and authoritative hands of Maxwell Davies himself give a good, solid performance of what is a rather demanding work for musicians too. Sound quality in both recordings is fairly good…The composer’s own booklet notes are intelligent and interesting, especially where he relives his experience as ‘Mavis’."
Byzantion - MusicWeb-International.com - October 2012
"Maxwell Davies’s First Symphony comes from 1976, back in the heady years of Eight Songs for a Mad King. Maxwell Davies’s world is one where impressions of the moment have a direct and visceral impact, almost stream of consciousness, from what sounds like an evolving melody to a sudden and jagged halt as his gaze turns from field to ragged coast. Mavis is a sort of joke based on Las Vegas operators unable to understand his name when he was on tour with the BBC Philharmonic in the states. The piece is a thirteen-minute tone poem that goes out of its way to describe the garish and over-the-top cultural experience that is Las Vegas. This is a re-release of two…issues from 1995 and 1998. Both are recorded in lively and detailed sound, the performances excellent." ****
Steven Ritter - AudiophileAudition.com - October 2012
"...Maxwell Davies recorded his Symphony No. 1 with BBC Philharmonic in the 1990s and the recording was originally released on Collins Classics. It is a large scale piece encompassing Maxwell Davies’s inspiration from living in the Orkneys and conveys the wildness of the abandoned crofts and landscape. The work grew from its original conception and now spans nearly 55 minutes of music. The symphony is an important statement from one of Britain’s finest living composers and fully deserves to be heard, so full marks to Naxos for reissuing it coupled with the very enjoyable piece Mavis in Las Vegas, so named because of a mix up in Maxwell Davies’s name by a desk clerk in the Las Vegas Flamingo Hotel who checked him in as Mavis. It is a thoroughly enjoyable romp in the style of his other works in this style, like the Foxtrot for Orchestra, and offers a contemporary musical take on the Las Vegas scene painted by full orchestra..."
Anthony Kershaw - Audiophilia.com - 18 June 2012
"...with the composer conducting, it is a delightful performance... Mavis is a real gem, and I wouldn’t want to be without it ..."
Lynn René Bayley - Fanfare - September/October 2012
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