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Peter Maxwell Davies
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Peter Maxwell Davies is one of the most important figures inBritish music who remained active at the end of the 20th cen-tury. His wide range of compositions includes works for nearly every medium and for venues of church, chamber, theater, and schools. A penchant for the materials and techniques of early music permeates much of his writing, a characteristic that takes a particularly British bent with his interest in the music of John Dunstable, from the 15th century, and the life and music of John Taverner, from the 16th. The processes of serialism in his earliest works have sometimes found compatible expression with the medieval techniques of talea and color, qualities that by extension have caused many observers to compare him with Olivier Messiaen, who reverted to similar techniques. What appears on first encounter to be an element of musical eclecticism in his creative activity becomes, with scrutiny, a consistent dedication to music remarkably well suited to any performer or venue for which it is intended. Some of his works grow from a subtle platform of social commentary; not infrequently they border on the irksome to those not prepared to accept the music objectively.