Peter Maxwell Davies - The Trojan Games (UK premiere)

Filmed live on 4th October 2014 at Hallé St. Peter's, Ancoats, Manchester.

The work starts at 7 mins 30 seconds after an introduction from the composer.

Psappha ensemble conducted by Stephen Barlow

Conrad Marshall flute
Rachael Clegg oboe
Dov Goldberg clarinet
Colin Pownall bass clarinet
Richard Ion bassoon
Andrew Budden french horn
Angela Whelan trumpet
Tony Boorer trombone
Tim Williams percussion
Benedict Holland & Lucy Baker-Stockdale
Heather Wallington viola
Jennifer Langridge cello
Daniel Whibley double bass

Peter Maxwell Davies (born 1934)
The Trojan Games (2012) (UK premiere)
after Book V of Virgil’s 'Aeneid'

In 2012 I spent most of the year living in a small converted tower overlooking Grotto di Castro, near Pitigliano, Italy, with (by choice!) no access to radio or television. Without news of the Olympic Games in London, I invented my own, after a rereading of the Aeneid of Virgil: this work is based on Book 5, with its very detailed account of Aeneas’ ritualistic sequence of physical contests - more intense and injurious than anything in our comparatively restrained times.

It is scored for wind quintet, brass trio, one percussion player (who plays only tuned percussion) and string quintet.

Before each ‘contest’, in which the instrumentalists vie with each other for sheer virtuosity, there is a slow invocation to the Gods, or a processional, and to finish, a hymn of thanksgiving.

The sections are as follows, played without a break:

1. Invocation, scored for strings, lento.
2. Contest, woodwind, allegro.
3. Invocation, strings, lento.
4. Contest, horn and trumpet, allegro.
5. Invocation, horn and trumpet, oboe and strings, lento.
6. Contest, percussion, allegro.
7. Processional, tutti, adagio.
8. Contest, tutti, but with particularly virtuoso trombone, allegro.
9. Thanksgiving, tutti, lento.

© Peter Maxwell Davies

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