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CHAN 10487
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CHAN 10487

Matthews: Orchestral Works

The Classical Shop
release date: February 2009

Recorded in 24 Bit / 96Khz
album available as a Studio Master
Originally recorded in 2008


BBC Philharmonic

Rumon Gamba

Guy Johnston



Studio 7, New Broadcasting House, Manchester


Brian Pidgeon

Mike George


Stephen Rinker

Owain Williams


Record Label


Orchestral & Concertos

Total Time - 70:26
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Select Complete Single Disc for


(b. 1943)
  premiere recordings  

The Music of Dawn, Op. 50 (1989-90)

  Symphonic Poem for Orchestra  
1 Very calm and still – 3:45
2 A tempo - Presto – 3:47
3 Tempo I - Più mosso - Misterioso – 4:50
4 Tempo I, very calm - Presto - Tempo I – 4:10
5 Allegro vivace – 2:08
6 Sempre molto energico - Più mosso - Strepitoso – 3:42
7 Meno mosso - Calmo e maestoso - Poco solenne - As at the start 4:35

Concerto in Azzurro, Op. 87 (2000-02)

  for Cello and Orchestra  
  For Steven Isserlis  
8 Con moto appassionato - Lontano – 5:33
9 Molto vivace e sbalzato - Meno mosso – 4:32
10 Molto moderato e sostenuto - Poco più mosso – 6:57
11 Poco lento, con calore - Molto sereno 6:45
 Guy Johnston cello

A Vision and a Journey, Op. 60 (1992-93, revised 1996-99)

  Symphonic Fantasy for Orchestra  
  To Robin Leanse  
12 Vivo - Broad, sustained - Poco più mosso – 2:29
13 Ardente - Flowing - Poco più mosso – 4:23
14 Precipitoso - Andante moderato – 4:15
15 Allegro - Clear, luminous – 2:00
16 [Clear, luminous] - Sostenuto – 2:47
17 Molto tranquillo - Vivo - Allegro - A little broader 3:48
Chandos adds David Matthews to the bastion of English composers already represented on the label

The BBC Philharmonic and Rumon Gamba showcase two of his symphonic poems, The Music of Dawn and A Vision and a Journey, adding the Concerto in Azzurro for cello and orchestra, performed by Guy Johnston, winner of the Musician of the Year award

All receive their premiere recording

Born in 1943 in London, David Matthews was first attracted to the idea of becoming a composer only in his teens, and initially was self-taught. After university, he had formal lessons with Anthony Milner, and worked in Aldeburgh as Benjamin Britten’s assistant. His music represents a continuation of, rather than a challenge to, the great tradition of British music in the twentieth century, placing a strong emphasis on melodic lines and on what has been called ‘a Romantic generosity of expression’. At the same time, it is by no means straightforwardly conservative; it speaks in a highly individual voice, and one that is still evolving. The Times wrote recently: ‘Matthews is among our most conspicuous symphonists, as well as among our stalwart adherents of tonality.’

The Music of Dawn was inspired by the painting of the same name by the British artist Cecil Collins, which is reproduced on the cover of this release. Matthews recalls: ‘I regard him as one of the most important painters of the twentieth century. I was particularly struck by the painting called The Music of Dawn. It immediately suggested music which, from its title, it was obviously intended to do. Cecil Collins was the most musical of painters, and I hope that he would have liked the idea of his painting being evoked in the medium of orchestral sound.’ Richly scored for large orchestra, the work is an evocation of the sun, beginning in the pale light of early dawn, and ending in the blaze of noon. The concluding part of the work was composed at Norman Del Mar’s house in North Cornwall.

Both A Vision and a Journey and Concerto in Azzurro were commissioned by the BBC. The ‘symphonic fantasia’ A Vision and a Journey was first performed by the BBC Philharmonic in 1993. Concerto in Azzurro is composed as a single large-scale movement, lasting just under twenty-five minutes. It derives its form from the first movement of Bruckner’s Ninth Symphony and is also inspired by a holiday spent on the Island of Lundy and a vision of blueness found there.

Strong persuasive performances, especially from Guy Johnston in the Concert, are caught in exemplary sound
BBC Music Magazine

The reputation of David Matthews has risen steadily over the last few years…among his contemporaries he has few rivals in the creating and sustaining of larger forms.
International Record Review

The lyricism shines out and one is instantly aware that this is music by a composer who is very much a part of the great English tradition.

A Harding

J Wright