Around Britten: Matthew Barley

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Around Britten: Matthew Barley


Presto Disc of the Week

14th January 2013



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Release date:

14th Jan 2013




72 minutes


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Around Britten: Matthew Barley


Improvisation (2012)


Suite No. 3 for cello solo, Op. 87


Trad, arr. Britten arr. Barley

Down by the Salley Gardens

Trad, arr. Britten arr. Barley

Oliver Cromwell

Trad, arr. Britten arr. Barley

Since She Whom I loved

arr. Barley

Choral Dances from Gloriana, Op. 53: Concord

arr. Barley


Tre Laude Dolçe


Thrinos for solo cello

Chant for cello


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Matthew Barley further proves his reputation as one of the UK's most innovative and creative performers with the new programme and CD Around Britten – celebrating the centenary of Britten's birth with a selection of his works, including the Third Cello Suite and pieces by Sir John Tavener and Gavin Bryars.

The release coincides with the start of a tour of 100 events taking Britten's music to a kaleidoscopic variety of venues around the UK, reaching a huge cross section of British society. As well as concerts in conventional concert halls, Matthew will play in galleries, a cafe, a woodland in Devon, a number of cathedrals (including Canterbury), around 12 different National Trust properties and Britten's library at the Red House in Aldeburgh. The events will be featured across the year in BBC Music Magazine, and one concert will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3. (details of the events can be found here -

“I wish more people would think about music the way Matthew Barley does” The Times

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

Benjamin Britten: Third Suite for Cello, Op. 87

I Introduzione: Lento

II Marcia: Allegro

III Canto: Con moto

IV Barcarola: Lento

V Dialogo: Allegretto

VI Fuga: Andante espressivo

VII Recitativo: Fantastico

VIII Moto perpetuo: Presto

IX Passacaglia: Lento solenne

Mournful Song


Street Song

Depart in Peace, with the Saints (Kontakion)

Benjamin Britten, Matthew Barley: Greensleeves


Benjamin Britten, Matthew Barley: The Salley Gardens

The Salley Gardens

Gavin Bryars: Tre Laude Dolce




Benjamin Britten, Matthew Barley: Since She Whom I Loved

Since She Whom I Loved

John Tavener: Threnos


John Tavener: Chant


Benjamin Britten, Matthew Barley: Concord


Matthew Barley: Improvisation


Benjamin Britten, Matthew Barley: Oliver Cromwell

Oliver Cromwell

Financial Times

2nd February 2013


“This will surely go down as one of the more offbeat centenary tributes to Britten. Barley, an unclassifiable cellist, builds his anthology around a thoughtful performance of Britten’s Third Suit for cello and the “quietly radiating peace” he finds in it.”

Gramophone Magazine

April 2013

“As always, Barley's playing is fearless. The disc is a voyage around the cello as well as around Britten, and one that never becomes relentless. In his Improvisation, there is skilfully woven reference to the profusion of styles in which he plays...The high point, though, is Barley's arrangement of 'Since she whom I loved'. Even without the words, Barley has managed to capture - and further amplify - its great sadness and isolation.”

BBC Music Magazine

May 2013


“His performance of the Britten lets the light in on what can seem a rather obscure, labyrinthine work: Barley's clear, calm approach lays out the score before us...The rest of the disc is like entering the chill-out room: Barley's well crafted, multi-tracked cello arrangements of Britten's folk songs and 'Concord' from Gloriana will appeal to many.”

International Record Review

May 2013

“a formidable achievement”

Presto Classical

Katherine Cooper

14th January 2013

“If a disc based on a funeral chant sounds rather elegiac, well - I suppose it is, rather, but it’s suffused with a rapt, meditative quality that makes for wonderful late-night listening and there’s a splendidly boisterous arrangement of ‘Oliver Cromwell’ to round things off!”

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