David Matthews composer

In July 1990 I was staying at the conductor Norman Del Mar's house in Millook on the north coast of Cornwall, finishing my large orchestral piece The Music of Dawn. Each evening there were spectacular sunsets, and I used to go up on the cliff to paint them in watercolours.

The Music of Dawn is concerned with the sun in all its aspects, and I am sure that these paintings assisted the compositional process: the one above was painted on 15th July, and next morning I wrote the music you can see and hear, in its final orchestral form, on the website introduction page.


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Recent and Forthcoming Performances

15/05/2023  --  The current situation and performance update

2023 is my 80th birthday year and it is being celebrated with a number of birthday concerts. On my actual birthday, 9 March, the BBC Philharmonic under John Storgårds played three of my works, Concerto for Orchestra, Nachtgesang and Chaconne, at the BBC studio in Salford, and on 8 May another three works, String Trio No.1, A Song for Emma and A Blackbird Sang, were performed at the Luton Music Club by Emma Halnan and the Eblana String Trio. Other birthday concerts, listed below, will be at the Deal. Presteigne and Little Missenden Festivals, and my friends in Brno have programmed my Piano Quintet there in September. The most exciting event for me this year, however, will be the first performance with orchestra of my opera Anna on 14 July, a concert performance at The Grange Northington, details of which are given here.

I am currently writing an 11th Symphony: no definite performance is scheduled yet, but I hope to finish it by the end of the year.

10/06/2023, 11am  --  World premiere: String Quartet No.17

Kreutzer String Quartet | Aldeburgh Festival | St Bartholomew’s Church, Orford

Work details: String Quartet No.17, Op.164

13/06/2023, 7.30pm  --  A Song and Dance Sketchbook

Rossetti Ensemble | Herfordshire Festival | All Saints Church, Hertford

Work details: A Song and Dance Sketchbook (piano quartet), Op.65

02/07/2023, 3pm  --  Piano Trio No. 2

Leonore Piano Trio | Concerts at Cratfield | St Mary's Church Cratfield, Suffolk

Work details: Piano Trio No.2, Op.61

07/07/2023, 7.30pm  --  Introit

Resonate Chamber Orchestra | Conducted by Henry Kennedy | Deal Music Festival | St George's Church, Deal

Work details: Introit, Op.28

10/07/2023, 1pm  --  Variations for Piano

Junyan Chen | Deal Music Festival | St George's Church, Deal

Work details: Variations for Piano, Op.72

10/07/2023, 2.30pm  --  David Matthews in Conversation with Christopher Cook

Deal Music Festival | St George's Church, Deal

10/07/2023, 7.30pm  --  Sonatina for clarinet, viola and piano

Tim Orpen, clarinet, Fiona Winning, violin, John Reid, piano | Deal Music Festival | St George's Church, Deal

Work details: Sonatina for Clarinet, Viola and Piano, Op.141a

11/07/2023  --  World premiere: Three Birthday Pieces

Peter Sheppard Skaerved, violin | The Guildhall, Sandwich

Work details: Three Birthday Pieces, Op.167

11/07/2023, 3pm  --  String Quartets Nos. 8 & 14 | Mozart Minuet K.355/576b & Gigue K.574, Beethoven 11 Bagatelles Op. 119 (arr. Matthews)

Pre-concert talk at 2.30pm.

Kreutzer Quartet | Deal Music Festival | St Mary's Arts Centre, Sandwich

Work details: Bagatelle (1804) (Beethoven arr. Matthews) | Gigue in G major, K574 (Mozart arr. Matthews) | Minuet in D major, K355/576b (Mozart arr. Matthews) | String Quartet No.8, Op.75 | String Quartet No.14, Op.145

12/07/2023, 1pm  --  Adonis

Maja Horvet, violin | Joseph Havlat, piano | Deal Music Festival | St Mary's Art's Centre, Sandwich

Work details: Adonis, Op.105

14/07/2023, 5pm  --   Anna (concert performance)

World premiere of an opera with a libretto by Roger Scruton.

Listen to the full recording on Soundcloud.

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra | Jac van Steen, conductor | Rhian Lois, soprano | Marta Fontanals-Simmons, mezzo | Oliver Johnston, tenor | Alex Otterburn, baritone | Jonathan Lemalu, bass | The Grange Northington, Alresford, Hampshire

Work details: Anna, Op.154

01/08/2023, 7.30pm  --  A Song and Dance Sketchbook

Rossetti Ensemble | 11 West Rd, Cambridge

Work details: A Song and Dance Sketchbook (piano quartet), Op.65

24/08/2023, 7pm  --  The Sleeping Lord

Zoe Drummond, soprano | Presteigne Festival Ensemble | Conducted by George Vass | Presteigne Festival | St Andrew’s Church, Presteigne

Work details: The Sleeping Lord, Op.58

25/08/2023, 11.30am  --  Three Roman Miniatures

Catriona Scott, clarinet | Presteigne Festival | St Mary Magdalene Church, Leintwardine

Work details: Three Roman Miniatures, Op.81

25/08/2023, 2pm  --  Adonis

Mathilde Milwidsky, violin | Ivana Gavric, piano | Presteigne Festival | St Andrew’s Church, Presteigne

Work details: Adonis, Op.105

25/08/2023, 4pm  --  A Composer’s Landscape: David Matthews

A new film by Barrie Gavin.

Presteigne Festival | Assembly Rooms, Presteigne

28/08/2023, 7pm  --  Three Birds and a Farewell

Presteigne Festival Orchestra | Conducted by George Vass | Presteigne Festival | St Andrew’s Church, Presteigne

Work details: Three Birds and a Farewell, Op.118

20/09/2023  --  Piano Quintet

Vila Löw-Beer, Brno, Czech Republic

Work details: Piano Quintet, Op.92

07/10/2023  --  String Quartet No. 10, Piano Quintet, Cap Gris-Nez

Clare Hammond, piano | Carducci Quartet | Little Missenden Festival | St John the Baptist Church, Little Missenden

Work details: Cap Gris-Nez | Piano Quintet, Op.92 | String Quartet No.10, Op.84

30/10/2023, 1pm  --  Montana Taylor’s Blues

Nicholas Daniel, oboe, Huw Watkins, piano | Wigmore Hall, London

Work details: Montana Taylor's Blues (oboe, piano), Op.57a

20/11/2023  --  A Dance for Emma

Emma Halnan, flute| Barnes Music Society

Work details: Three Woodwind Studies, Op.162

20/11/2023, 7.30pm  --  World premiere: Kingsdown Suite

Pavel Ralev, guitar | Wigmore Hall, London

Work details: Kingsdown Suite, Op.165

22/03/2024  --  A Blackbird Sang

Emma Halnan, flute | Eblana String Trio | Bromsgrove Concerts

Work details: A Blackbird Sang, Op.121

Other news

13/02/2022  --  News from the mixing desk (updated February 2022)

David’s Thirteenth Quartet was recorded in 2018, and will be finally released this year on Toccata Classics, together with the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Quartets. In addition to the customary four string players, the work features four singers and was written in memory of a close friend, Peter Sculthorpe. Musical Opinion (Oct-Dec 2018) described its performance in July by the Kreuzer Quartet, alongside singers Rebecca Lea, Jess Dandy, Will Dawes and James Robinson, as 'A moving tribute to a fellow composer and a searching addition to a genre which David Matthews has made his own.' Paul Conway goes on to call the Thirteenth Quartet a 'tightly written piece that covered a vast spectrum of emotion in a short space of time. There was quirkiness and wit as well as noble tranquillity in a persuasive premiere performance of great warmth and humanity.'

In 2021 David finished an organ piece for the outstanding German organist Hansjorg Albrecht, who is in the process of recording all ten of Bruckner's symphonies (including No.0) together with ten commissioned 'Bruckner Windows', each of which is related to a particular symphony. David was asked to write a companion piece to Symphony No.2, which Bruckner began on his visit to London in 1871, where he gave acclaimed organ recitals. It is called Meditation on the slow movement of Bruckner's Second Symphony; it was recorded in August 2021 on the organ of Westminster Cathedral and the CD released in November 2021. A film of the performance will shortly be available on YouTube.

24/04/2022  --  CD release: Elgar Reimagined

02/09/2022  --  CD release: David Matthews - Complete String Quartets, Volume Five


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