Composed in 2003, The Kestrel Road was jointly commissioned by forty-seven choirs, all of which are members of Music Making – a national society that links several thousand amateur choirs and orchestras. This work was commissioned as a tribute to mark the seventieth birthday of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies and was performed nationwide throughout the 2004/5 season.
The Kestrel Road is a song-cycle for SATB Choir and Piano, settings of poems by the ‘Bard of Orkney’ George Mackay Brown (1917-96). The poems are highly evocative of Orkney life, history and folklore, with shepherds, crofters, fisher folk, a laird, a scarecrow King Barleycorn, and the timeless figure of Ikey the Tinker, who passes through many of Brown’s poems, seemingly linking past and present. According to Maxwell Davies, the music is suggestive of the ‘elusive land and seascapes’ of the islands and is much influenced by the local folk music.