Academy receives Maxwell Davies manuscript

-Posted on 28.09.2017

The Royal Academy of Music has been gifted the manuscript of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies’s 1971 work From Stone to Thorn. Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, ‘Max’, was Professor of Composition at the Academy for over a decade – a period which included the co-commission with the Julliard School of his opera Kommilitonen! – and a great supporter of the institution up until his death in March 2016.

The gift was made by Max’s close friend Sylvia Junge, pictured here with Vladimir Bogandović’s painting of the composer which hangs outside the Principal’s office.

At the turn of the 1970s, the early instrument-maker Tom Goff offered his house in Pont Street as a rehearsal space for Max’s new work for mezzo-soprano and ensemble From Stone to Thorn, which required a harpsichord. In gratitude, Max gave Tom the score which includes a letter of thanks, the plainsong on which the work is based and Max’s workings. In 1975 Sylvia Junge’s husband acquired the manuscript, and now this generous gift will allow current Academy students to access and study the document.

The Academy’s Principal, Professor Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, said: ‘We are delighted to accept this generous gift from Sylvia Junge who identifies so strongly with Max’s connection with the Academy. Max’s manuscript joins our internationally-renowned Special Collections and Archives, an extensive resource enriching academic life for all students.’

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