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No hometown
nuptials for classical music VIP

No hometown
nuptials for classical music VIP

The honored U.K. composer Peter Maxwell Davies has ditched plans for his civil partnership in his remote Orkney Islands hometown after failing to persuade local authorities to allow the local registrar to perform the ceremony.

Davies and his longtime partner, Colin Parkinson, wanted the event overseen by Charlie Ridley, a friend of both and home registrar for their island of Sanday. The Orkney Islands council, upset with Ridley on other counts, insisted that a senior registrar from the main island, Kirkwall, travel to Sanday to perform the ceremony.

Along with the couple, Ridley has accused the authority of discrimination.

Ridley has now resigned from his post, saying the drama had affected his health. He said he had fought to perform the ceremony because it was a principle he believed in. Ridley told reporters: "All I wanted to do was perform a professional service for everyone on the island. I felt I was left with no option other than to resign with immediate effect."

A council spokesman said, "The council can confirm that we have received a verbal resignation of the Sanday registrar."

Davies said the dispute has forced him to seek a venue for the ceremony outside Orkney, where he has lived since 1970. "Everything has gone so sour, it's spoilt everything for us," he said.

In 1977 Davies founded Orkney's St. Magnus Festival of classical music, where he has worked with local schools and premiered many pieces. Orkney has inspired many of his works, including, ironically, 1984's "Orkney Wedding, With Sunrise," written for the Boston Pops and inspired by a neighbor's ceremony.

Davies recently completed a 10-year stint as conductor-composer for the BBC Philharmonic and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London. In 2004 he was named Master of the Queen's Music, an honor bestowed on a U.K. classical composer and which is similar to poet laureate. (Stewart Who?, U.K.)

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