Miss Donnithorne’s Maggot


Program Note

Miss Donnithorne was an Australian lady, apparently one of the models for Miss Havisham in Dickens’s Great Expectations; jilted at the last minute, she became a recluse, and the piece discovers her ranting among the remnants of her wedding cake, which is decorated with instrumentalists. Like Maxwell Davies’s mad king, she has eight songs, though the fifth is a nocturne-interlude sung for her by the alto flute. Also as in the earlier work, the solo part is a tour de force of vocal effects, requiring a range of three octaves, though Miss Donnithorne is generally more songful in her madness than George III. The temperature of the ensemble music is also a little lower, more controlled, perhaps more lady-like, if still expecting wildly brilliant execution.
-Paul Griffiths


About Peter Maxwell Davies

8 September 1934 – 14 March 2016 Universally acknowledged as one of the foremost composers of our time, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies has made a significant contribution to musical history…