Author Topic: David Matthews(1943-)  (Read 17728 times)

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Offline Dundonnell

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David Matthews(1943-)
« on: December 15, 2008, 06:25:59 PM »
In my opinion one of the most impressive contemporary British composers is David Matthews, born in London in 1943. He is the elder brother of the composer Colin Matthews(the composer of the 'Pluto' movement whch has been recorded as an add-on to Holst's 'Planets'). A rare example of two brothers both being distinguished composers!

David Matthews has an excellent website-

http://www.david-matthews.co.uk/homepage.asp

and there is a short article about him-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Matthews_(composer)

Matthews is a British composer very much in the traditions of Britten and Tippett but his music is also influenced by Mahler and his teachers Anthony Milner and Nicholas Maw. He has written six symphonies and both Nos. 5 and 6 were premiered at the Proms to considerable critical acclaim. Symphony No.6 is based around Vaughan Williams's hymn tune 'Down Ampney' and has a Brucknerian depth and, at times, feel. The 'Times' critic hailed Matthews as 'among our most conspicuous symphonists'(not exactly a very large band!) and 'among our stalwart adherents to tonality'.

There are a few works by Matthews already on disc(including Symphony No.4)-mainly on NMC-but 2009 bids to be a vintage year! Chandos will shortly release the Cello Concerto 'Concerto in Azzurro' coupled with two tone poems 'A Vision and a Journey' and 'The Music of Dawn' while that marvellously enterprising  small label Dutton will issue Symphonies Nos. 1, 3 and 5 and will be recording Nos. 2 and 6 in Swansea in February: http://www.david-matthews.co.uk/news/newsitem.asp?newsid=288&year=0

I find this very exciting news :) It is splendid when a composer of genuine substance gets this sort of proper treatment from a record label; not just one work to be followed a year or two later by a possible successor, but five symphonies recorded within five months of each other ;D I look forward to these releases with eager anticipation. I doubt if many others here have ever heard of Matthews but if you like modern, intelligent tonal music then you are in for a treat ;D

« Last Edit: December 16, 2008, 07:16:18 AM by Dundonnell »

Offline vandermolen

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Re: David Matthews(1943-)
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2008, 07:04:34 AM »
I didn't realise that they were two separate composers! I have an old Unicorn CD with music by Colin Matthews (I think) which I didn't care for. The pointless Pluto piece tacked-on the end of The Planets (amusingly composed just when Pluto was downgraded as a planet) tended to influence me adversely but I must investigate David Matthews. I like Anthony Milner's music but have never cared much for Nicholas Maw's music, which I have tended to find rather pretentious.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2008, 07:09:06 AM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: David Matthews(1943-)
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2008, 07:14:10 AM »
I didn't realise that they were two separate composers! I have an old Unicorn CD with music by Colin Matthews (I think) which I didn't care for. The pointless Pluto piece tacked-on the end of The Planets (amusingly composed just when Pluto was downgraded as a planet) tended to influence me adversely but I must investigate David Matthews. I like Anthony Milner's music but have never cared much for Nicholas Maw's music, which I have tended to find rather pretentious.

Oh yes, Jeffrey...two separate brother composers! And-importantly-different in style!

Don't be put off if you didn't like Colin's music. You might well like David's ;D Have alook at the website and read the reviews for an indication of the nature of his work.

David Matthews is attempting to revive that apparently moribund musical form- the symphonic poem- as well :)
« Last Edit: December 16, 2008, 07:17:57 AM by Dundonnell »

Offline vandermolen

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Re: David Matthews(1943-)
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2008, 07:21:56 AM »
Oh yes, Jeffrey...two separate brother composers! And-importantly-different in style!

Don't be put off if you didn't like Colin's music. You might well like David's ;D Have alook at the website and read the reviews for an indication of the nature of his work.

David Matthews is attempting to revive that apparently moribund musical form- the symphonic poem- as well :)

Will do Colin. Sounds very interesting. More Dutton CDs to be smuggled into the house no doubt  ;D

ps What's Symphony No 4 like? It seems to be the only one currently on CD.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: David Matthews(1943-)
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2008, 07:33:15 AM »
Will do Colin. Sounds very interesting. More Dutton CDs to be smuggled into the house no doubt  ;D

ps What's Symphony No 4 like? It seems to be the only one currently on CD.

My admiration for the Dutton label has no bounds these days :) Arnell, W.H. Bell, Stanley Bate, Bainton, Boughton, Matthews....the list grows!

Matthews No.4 is scored for a very small orchestra-strings, flute, 2 oboes, 2 bassoons and 2 horns. I don't think that it has therefore the sort of impact that I expect from Nos. 5 and 6. I won't disguise the fact that this is 'modern tonal' music! It is not neo-romantic ;D But, as you have probably worked out by now ;D, I am a total sucker for symphonic music and when a modern British composer sticks to the traditional forms and attempts to breathe fresh life into those forms I am certainly prepared to make a big effort to appreciate what he is doing.

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: David Matthews(1943-)
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2008, 07:36:47 AM »
A review on Musicweb of the two big 'symphonic poems' "In the Dark Time" and "Chaconne"-

http://www.musicweb-international.com/classRev/2001/Apr01/matthews.htm

and the 4th Symphony-

http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2003/Aug03/Matthews_haywood.htm
« Last Edit: December 16, 2008, 07:39:45 AM by Dundonnell »

Offline vandermolen

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Re: David Matthews(1943-)
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2008, 07:41:15 AM »
A review on Musicweb of the two big 'symphonic poems' "In the Dark Time" and "Chaconne"-

http://www.musicweb-international.com/classRev/2001/Apr01/matthews.htm

and the 4th Symphony-

http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2003/Aug03/Matthews_haywood.htm

Many thanks Colin. Clearly worth exploring.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline edward

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Re: David Matthews(1943-)
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2008, 11:29:18 AM »
I had the original Collins Classics single issue of the 4th symphony; I find it an enjoyable piece, well-written without any pretensions towards being overly weighty. I've also hear some songs and short orchestral pieces on an old Unicorn disc. I'm glad to hear about these new issues and they'll have to go on my wishlist.

David's style is certainly very different from Colin's: less modernist, less eclectic; to me, heavily influenced by Mahler and Britten, in particular.
"I don't at all mind actively disliking a piece of contemporary music, but in order to feel happy about it I must consciously understand why I dislike it. Otherwise it remains in my mind as unfinished business."
 -- Aaron Copland, The Pleasures of Music

Offline The new erato

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Re: David Matthews(1943-)
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2008, 01:53:46 PM »
The new Gramophone issue I received today carry the news that Toccata Classics will issue all ten (!) of his string quartets.

Offline UB

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Re: David Matthews(1943-)
« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2008, 01:55:47 PM »
I have been collecting David Matthews music since I bought a used copy of the 4th symphony on that Colin's cd with Nabarro conducting that Edward mentions. I have all of the symphonies except 6. Thanks to Radio 3 and an excellent program they put on two or three years ago I also have his oboe and viola concertos. Since this tread started I have listened to those concertos, his cello concerto and a couple of other works. I especially enjoy the oboe and viola concertos.

I have yet to come to appreciate the 5th symphony but the 4th continues to delight. Also the revised 1st symphony that was introduced I believe in 2007.

I agree with Edward about Britten's influence but I think there many of the tonal styles of the 20th century can be heard in his music.

Great news about the string quartets. I only know the 3rd and 6th. I look forward to all these new recordings of his music. Especially since it may introduce this fine composer to a wider audience.
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Offline Guido

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Re: David Matthews(1943-)
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2008, 02:03:05 PM »
I have been collecting David Matthews music since I bought a used copy of the 4th symphony on that Colin's cd with Nabarro conducting that Edward mentions. I have all of the symphonies except 6. Thanks to Radio 3 and an excellent program they put on two or three years ago I also have his oboe and viola concertos. Since this tread started I have listened to those concertos, his cello concerto and a couple of other works. I especially enjoy the oboe and viola concertos.

I have yet to come to appreciate the 5th symphony but the 4th continues to delight. Also the revised 1st symphony that was introduced I believe in 2007.

I agree with Edward about Britten's influence but I think there many of the tonal styles of the 20th century can be heard in his music.

Great news about the string quartets. I only know the 3rd and 6th. I look forward to all these new recordings of his music. Especially since it may introduce this fine composer to a wider audience.

How have you listened to the cello concerto?
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Offline some guy

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Re: David Matthews(1943-)
« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2008, 03:56:30 PM »
I ... have never cared much for Nicholas Maw's music, which I have tended to find rather pretentious.

Anyone who makes a statement like that is being pretentious.

(Wait a tic, that means that I was just now being.... Doh!)

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: David Matthews(1943-)
« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2008, 04:08:01 PM »
I am absolutely delighted to learn that I am not alone on here in liking the music of David Matthews :) I was going to say that I envied UB...but Dutton is shortly going to see to it that we have the opportunity to build up our own collections :)

I did wonder whether anyone would reply ;D

Offline UB

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Re: David Matthews(1943-)
« Reply #13 on: December 16, 2008, 09:35:59 PM »
How have you listened to the cello concerto?

I recorded it from BBC sometime in 2007 - according to the lead in it was a recording made of the premiere of the work in October 2002. It is played by Steven Isserlis with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales conducted by Richard Hickox.
I am not in the entertainment business. Harrison Birtwistle 2010

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: David Matthews(1943-)
« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2008, 07:25:31 AM »
The Chandos recording is by the BBC Philharmonic under Rumon Gamba. It may be Isserlis as soloist.

karlhenning

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Re: David Matthews (1943-)
« Reply #15 on: December 17, 2008, 08:10:20 AM »
The Chandos recording is by the BBC Philharmonic under Rumon Gamba.

I've heard his viols many times  8)

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: David Matthews (1943-)
« Reply #16 on: December 17, 2008, 08:14:53 AM »
I've heard his viols many times  8)

Ho, ho ;D

Where's the Ice Storm now, Karl??

karlhenning

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Re: David Matthews(1943-)
« Reply #17 on: December 17, 2008, 08:19:10 AM »
There are some poor folks still without power, I think.  Here in Boston, just some light snow earlier today (two-ish inches up around home) which has since changed to light rain . . . even this may have stopped now, could just be mist out there.

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: David Matthews(1943-)
« Reply #18 on: December 17, 2008, 08:21:21 AM »
There are some poor folks still without power, I think.  Here in Boston, just some light snow earlier today (two-ish inches up around home) which has since changed to light rain . . . even this may have stopped now, could just be mist out there.

.....or coffee fumes ;D

Offline UB

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Re: David Matthews(1943-)
« Reply #19 on: December 17, 2008, 08:52:19 AM »
Dundonnell - Thank you for starting this thread. I have not listened to David Matthews' music for many months and I had forgotten how much I liked most of his music.

This morning I have listened to his excellent Viola Concerto -Winter Remembered, the early work for orchestra September Music - which I can not say I much care for. I guess for me he does winter better than fall, and his absorbing - at least for me - symphonic fantasy A Vision and a Journey.
I am not in the entertainment business. Harrison Birtwistle 2010