SIR PETER MAXWELL DAVIES

Chat Moss

For school orchestra

1993

5.5 minutes

opus

164

Chat Moss is an area of soggy land between Manchester and Liverpool, near to Davies’s former home in Leigh. So the five-minute piece breathes new life into another deeply unfashionable genre, the tone-poem. Like much of his music for school children, it is immaculately judged; not particularly easy to play and never condescending but full of vibrant musical substance. It is in fact the kind of work that will surely find favour with amateur and youth orchestras everywhere. But we should also be hearing it from professional orchestras.

The Guardian

Dedication John Moseley and St. Edward's College, Liverpool

Commissioned by

 

 

 

Scoring

2 flutes, oboe, clarinet in B flat, bassoon, two trumpets, *percussion (2 players), timpani, strings
*percussion (2 players): clashed cymbals, large suspended cymbal, bass drum

Sections



Synopsis

Composer Notes

Programme Notes

Short Note by Paul Griffiths

This short tone-poem is made to let a school orchestra glow. Characteristically, Davies finds ways to engage and stretch young players while staying within the bounds of what is practical for them. And as so often, the result is a piece in which he thinks youthfully. This is vividly dramatic music – but then so too is the adult composition which comes straight afterwards and quotes from it: the Fifth Symphony

Extended Note by Stephen Pruslin

Chat Moss is a quagmire south of Leigh in Lancashire. According to Daniel Defoe, ‘The surface, at a distance looks black and dirty, and is indeed frightful to think of, for it will bear neither Horse nor Man, unless an exceedingly dry Season, and then so as not to be travelled on with Safety.’

A century later, George Stephenson, chief engineer of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, disproved Defoe’s contention. When the foundation stones of the railway line kept sinking beneath the shifting earth of Chat Moss, Stephenson ordered wooden supports to be sunk along a stretch of terrain several miles long, and above these the tracks and trains still literally float.

Davies’s short occasional piece enshrines his childhood memories of Chat Moss. The work is designed for performance by either youth, amateur or professional orchestra.

This is a copyright note, and may not be reprinted or reproduced in any way without prior permission from the author.

 

Chat Moss is an area of soggy land between Manchester and Liverpool, near to Davies’s former home in Leigh. So the five-minute piece breathes new life into another deeply unfashionable genre, the tone-poem. Like much of his music for school children, it is immaculately judged; not particularly easy to play and never condescending but full of vibrant musical substance. It is in fact the kind of work that will surely find favour with amateur and youth orchestras everywhere. But we should also be hearing it from professional orchestras.

The Guardian

First Performance

St. Edward's College, Liverpool

Wednesday, 16 March 1994

Pupils of St. Edward's College, Liverpool