1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A Voyage of Discovery,
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: David Matthews: Symphonies Nos. 2 & 6 (Audio CD)
I bought this CD on the strength of hearing the premiere of the Sixth Symphony at the Proms in 2007 when it struck me as one of the most sonically imaginative and attractive works of recent times. This recording has not changed my opinion of the work's value nor of my belief that this cycle of symphonies should be on any serious music lover's list of pieces to get to know. Matthews is a composer very keenly aware of his musical heritage and there are clear echoes of some musical greats of the past here not least Benjamin Britten. In the Sixth the stylistic and structural debt to Mahler are palpable and the theme on which the symphony is based is Vaughan Williams Down Ampney. Yet the music does, I would suggest reference an even wider musical culture with the fascinating conclusion to the first movement scored for bass flute, flugelhorn and cowbells which is redolent of late sixties progressive rock. Most importantly, the music positively invites your engagement and analysis, and if, like me, you like nothing better than to really get to grips with new music by listening closely to the orchestration and picking out the forms in the score then this CD is a treat. The Second I find just slightly less appealing despite some splendid writing for percussion. This is a work of wide dynamic contrasts evoking themes of innocence and rebirth (Mahler again)culminating in a kind of musical explosion a little reminiscent of Robert Simpson's marvelous symphonies. The recording itself is splendidly rich and detailed and the ensemble and solo playing need not fear comparison. Recommended.