David Matthews: Symphonies Nos. 2 & 6 CD
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Dutton Epoch's second volume of David Matthews's symphonies presents the second and sixth, among the most engaging symphonies of our time. "A glorious sixth," said The Times after the Prom premiere in 2007, which all at Dutton Epoch can echo now that we have made its premiere recording. Incorporating Vaughan Williams's hymn tune Down Ampney, it continues the British tradition in memorable and lyrical style. As the Sunday Times critic wrote, "It is indubitably a work to listen to again." It is coupled with the involving Second Symphony, a large-scale single movement whose lyricism - a critic commented on "a finely wrought melody for bassoon which is also its most personal and memorable invention" - contrasts with the exciting writing for percussion in an exuberant central episode. Track listing: Symphony No.2, Op.1 (1976-79) i. Lento e calmo - ii. Allegro energico - iii. Più mosso - iv. Presto veloce Symphony No.6, Op.100 (2003-07) i. Flowing ii. Scherzo: Vivacissimo iii. Molto moderato - Adagio
Top Customer Reviews
These performances are exemplary, although it's not possible to have a hearing of another interpreter-conductor but that's no problem. If you like Sibelius, Walton and the whole of the British mainstream symphonic tradition you'll find many pleasures in these works. Matthews' outings are tonal but moderately modern.
Dutton is doing a very fine job promoting David Matthews' case. Over here - The Netherlands - I'll never get an opportunity to hear these works live - they stick playing Brahms - so having this CD is a great thing. There'll hopefully followed by another fine disc the next year with the last of Matthew's unrecorded symphonies (4 and 7). The Welsh orchestra plays very good, recording has much depth and a fine bass and brass. Violins shine without becoming glassy. Excellent!
Symphony No.2 is a comparatively early work (1976-79). It begins quietly with a bassoon figure on a bed of soft strings, a mood which is maintained for some time and refuses to be subdued by agitated interjections from the woodwind. Eventually, however, the music becomes more ominous with threatening crescendos from the lower strings, brass and percussion, which represents, according to the composer, the start of a journey from innocence to experience. The slow, grave tempo is maintained throughout until the "allegro energico" second section weighs in, although even here the strings tend to flow rather than rush along. Discordant interjections in the brass add a note of unease not present in the first section. From this point the music increases in tempo and dynamism as "experience" takes hold. The third section makes much use of pitched percussion, while the final one brings all the orchestral forces to bear, returning at last to the opening theme which is now, however, cast in a very different mood from that in which it began.
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