David Matthews composer

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The Flaying of Marsyas, Op.42

Category Chamber Music > Other Chamber Music
Composed 1986-1987
Duration (approx) 18 minutes

Oboe, string quartet

Recording(s) Brindisi String Quartet
Publisher Faber Music

English Chamber Orchestra.

First performance 6 May 1987
Venue Purcell Room, London
Orchestra / Ensemble Spohr Quartet
Review Michael Oliver, Tempo, July 1995

To the challenge of an oboe quintet, one high-pitched instrument added to an ensemble that already has two. Matthews’s solution is brilliantly dramatic. The Flaying of Marsyas is a concerto, and a virtuoso one… the long central section a contest between the two soloists, the ‘apotheosis’ at the end an ingenious and formally satisfying device whereby Marsyas “learns” from his defeat and absorbs Apollo’s aristocratic lyrical idiom into his own instinctive one.