Peter Maxwell Davies: Job: An Oratorio
Warnaby, John, Musical Opinion
PETER MAXWELL DAVIES: Job: An Oratorio Valdine Anderson; Linda Maguire; Paul Moore and Kevin McMillan
CBC Vancouver Orchestra; Vancouver Bach Choir;
Conducted by Sie Peter Maxwell Davies
Collins Classics 15162 69'15"
Job is the centre-piece, and most ambitious of three substantial Choral/Orchestral works Maxwell Davies has completed in recent years, following on from The Three Kings and preceeding The Rising. Though Maxwell Davies has contributed to the Unaccompanied Choral repertiore throughout his career these are his first works for Chorus and Orchestra for more than 30 years. As such, they are further examples of the composer revisiting preoccupations of the 1960's from the perspective of the 1990's. They also help to explain his comment that he no longer intends writing opera.
The musical language Maxwell Davies has developed for his Oratorio undoubtedly stems from his earlier choral output, but his experience as a symphonist has enabled him to respond to the dramatic character of the Book of Job without resorting to the paraphernalia of opera. Moreover, as the accompanying notes point out, Job's plight has links with Taverner, The Martyrdom of St Magnus, and even Resurrection.
The 70-minute Oratorio is constructed in three substantial sections, and is symphonic in so far as it is based on material stated in the opening chorus. The emphasis throughout is on Job's words, but other characters are delineated, not only through their association with certain instruments, but equally through the fragmentation of the Orchestra, in which individual instruments are sometimes required to be played in an exaggerated manner. …