Peter Maxwell Davies' 1979 work for mezzo-soprano, baritone and orchestra, commissioned by the Philharmonia Orchestra, who gave the first performance in May 1992 at the Royal Festival Hall, with Simon Rattle conducting.
The 'Black Pentecost' is the coming of uranium mining, which was a threat to Orkney when the work was written. The text tells of the destruction of old ways of life, the eclipse of the human by the technological. Davies sets it as a gripping dramatic cantata which is also a four-movement symphony, with the songs for imperious baritone and lyrical mezzo-soprano linked by orchestral transitions. The work is a lament, and at the same time a fiercely argued protest.
Score. Duration c. 40mins.