The Yellow Cake Revue

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The Yellow Cake Revue is a musical composition for a speaker (reciter) and pianist by the English composer Peter Maxwell Davies.


It was composed in 1980, in the aftermath of the publication of a report (commissioned by the Secretary of State for Scotland into the possibility of mining uranium ('yellow cake')) which had been discovered near the town of Stromness in Orkney. The total opposition by the local community as well as Orkney Islands Council combined with the report's recommendation to reject the mining proposals persuaded the Secretary of State not to give the go-ahead. As has been noted, however, the threat remains.[1]


The work is a sequence of cabaret songs and recitations, and two interludes for piano. The first, Farewell to Stromness, has become one of Davies' most popular pieces, and has been arranged for various instruments. Similarly, Yesnaby Ground is frequently performed independently of the work for which it is written.

  1. Tourist Board Song: O come to sunny Warbeth
  2. Patriotic Song: You've heard of the man with the pace-maker
  3. Piano Interlude: Farewell to Stromness
  4. Recitation - Nuclear Job Interview 1: The Security Guard
  5. Uranium's Daughters' Dance: They said, when they'd extracted the uranium from the ore
  6. Recitation - Nuclear Job Interview 2: The Truck Driver
  7. Atlantic Breezes
  8. Recitation - Nuclear Job Interview 3: The Mental Healthworker
  9. Piano Interlude: Yesnaby Ground
  10. The Tourist Song: Have you heard of the terrorist suicide squad?
  11. The Triumph of the Cockroach: As earthquakes subsided

The work was premiered at the Stromness Hotel as part of the 1980 St Magnus Festival with Eleanor Bron as the reciter, accompanied by the composer.


  1. ^ Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. "Work Detail: The Yellow Cake Revue". Retrieved 28 June 2011.