Written in 1969 this is one of Peter Maxwell Davies’s classic works of concert-hall music theatre. An extraordinarily dramatic, multi-layered fusion of dance and music, its shape superimposes the 14 stations of the Cross on a series of 16th-century anatomical drawings by Vesalius, with a dancer and a solo cellist as the protagonists.
Scored for the classic Fires of London Sextet line-up the work is ﬁlled with unconventional percussion instruments, a honky tonk piano and much allusion to foxtrots as well as medieval and renaissance music.
In contrast to the vibrant sonorities of Vesalii Icones, the first half features the atmospheric piano works inspired by Persia and written during the First World War by the proliﬁc French composer Charles Koechlin.
Koechlin Excerpts from Les Heures Persanes
Maxwell Davies Vesalii Icones
Matthew Hawkins Choreographer / Dancer
Soraya Ham Dancer
Red Note Ensemble:
Lionel Handy, cello
Tom Hankey, viola
Ruth Morley, flute
Emma Burgess, clarinet
Tom Hunter, percussion
Simon Smith, piano
Pierre-André Valade, conductor