Farewell to Stromness
Peter Maxwell Davies

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Down 6. Peter Maxwell Davies — or 'Max', as he's known — is a Hall of Fame One Hit Wonder.

Peter Maxwell Davies' solo piano work Farewell to Stromness isn't particularly indicative of his music overall, which is often noticeable both for its visceral sound-world and for its avant-garde structures. But Farewell to Stromness is certainly among his most immediately accessible and most enchantingly simple melodies. Its inspiration is unique in classical music: it was written as a protest against a proposed uranium mine on the remote Orkney islands where the composer lives.

Its first performance was in the summer of 1980 at the St. Magnus Festival; the title of the piece refers to the town of Stromness, which would have been just a couple of miles from the centre of the mine should it have been constructed.