We were very sad to hear of the death of the composer Peter Maxwell Davies, coming so soon after the death of another great musical knight, Sir George Martin. He will be remembered for his vivid music, with much of his later compositions inspired by his life in the Orkney Islands, which he moved to in 1971. Amongst these pieces are the two he composed for the KS – House of Winter and Sea Runes. Both of these amazingly atmospheric pieces set texts by the Orcadian poet and author, George Mackay Brown, who was a favourite source of inspiration for Sir Peter. None of the current group were in the line-up when these pieces were commissioned, but there is a lovely story about his reaction on first hearing House of Winter. The score had only been delivered a couple of days before the rehearsal with the composer. This is usually quite a nerve-wracking moment for both the performers and the composer. With little opportunity to run the piece together, the KS sang it through as best they could, and at the end, turning nervously to Max, waited for the worst. He looked up, smiled, and just said “lovely”.
David Hurley, The King’s Singers