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

20/05/2020  --  Performances update concerning coronavirus and other news

All my spring performances were cancelled; the two below remain, though must be uncertain. At least this unprecedentedly strange time is ideal for composing, and I am extremely busy writing Act 2 of my two-act opera Anna, which I've written about in my piece on Roger Scruton in the writings section of this website. I'm working almost every day and should finish the draft score by the end of the summer, and the vocal score and complete full score I hope by the end of the year. The first act had a workshop performance at the National Opera Studio in London on 16 March, the day before all musical events came to a halt, but at the moment there are no definite plans for a staging of the whole opera.

I'm very concerned about all my musician friends who are unable to give concerts at present, and hope that it won't be impossibly long before things get back to normal. Warmest wishes to you all.

20/06/2020  --  Dark Pastoral (Vaughan Williams arr. Matthews)

Paul Böhme, cello | Conducted by Wolfgang Endros | Nordhein-Westfalen Musikgemeinschaft Marl | Theater Marl, 45768 Marl, Germany

Work details: Dark Pastoral, Op.112

28/07/2020, 4pm  --  Sonatina for violin and piano

Part of the Three Choirs Festival.

Krysia Osostowicz, violin | Daniel Tong, piano | St Martin’s Church, Worcester

Work details: Sonatina for Violin and Piano, Op.128

Other news

08/04/2019  --  News from the mixing desk (updated April 2019)

David’s Thirteenth Quartet was recorded towards the end of 2018 for release on CD this year. 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.' Hear the Thirteenth Quartet together with David’s Eighth and Fourteenth Quartets on the Kreuzer’s upcoming 2019 disk with Toccata Classics.

30/09/2019  --  Reviews of recording of Symphony No.9

See full recording details and listen to a sample.

David's Ninth Symphony has received a series of formidable reviews since its release with Nimbus Alliance in May 2019.

Robert Matthew-Walker for Classical Source describes the symphony as "A serious and compelling work of consistent musical art throughout… Here, in a number of ways, is a genuine symphony for our times." (Sep 2019).

Philip Scott for Limelight Magazine dubs Matthews "a genuine symphonist" whose Ninth "squeezes every drop of developmental interest out of his theme." (Aug 2019).

The disk also contains the Double Concerto and Variations on Bach's Chorale Die Nacht ist Kommen. For Guy Rickards of New Klassik, "A couple of other works on the record confirm Matthews as a champion of England's top league of string orchestra composers, along with Elgar, Vaughan Williams and Tippett." (June 2019).

Of the broader symphonic landscape in contemporary British composition, Robert Matthew-Walker writes, "In its way, Matthews 9 is a masterpiece: in wartime 1943, when Matthews was born, the population of the World was around 2.5-billion. Today, it approaches 8-billion, but whereas in 1943 one could legitimately cite more than twenty greatly significant composers active and producing music that was widely admired and which has stood the test of time, today, there is barely a handful, yet amongst them must be counted David Matthews" (Sep 2019).

22/11/2019  --  CD releases: Beethoven Plus Volume II / Elgar Cello Concerto, Dark Pastoral

As we draw to the close of 2019, two pieces of David’s music which creatively respond to pre-existing works will be released on CDs by Somm Recordings and Columbia respectively. The first, Sonatina, is a companion piece to Beethoven’s last violin sonata, Op.96, drawing upon and compressing snippets of musical source material. David also employs the same tempo markings as Beethoven.

The second recently recorded piece, Dark Pastoral, represents a completion of the slow movement from Vaughan Williams’ unfinished cello concerto, orchestrated and completed by David.

 
 
 

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