"The Nash Ensemble is still the best champion that any composer could hope to have" The Times
"The Nash Ensemble performances, as one would expect, are devoted and full of insight" Daily Telegraph
The world premiere of David Matthews’ Dark Pastoral, based on a surviving fragment of Vaughan Williams’ Cello Concerto, will be performed at the 2010 Proms by Steven Isserlis.
David Matthews spent three years as an assistant to Benjamin Britten at Aldeburgh in the late 1960s. We are delighted to welcome back one of the world’s finest chamber groups, The Nash Ensemble, to the label in this collection of world premiere recordings by the composer David Matthews. Matthews’ soundworld is rooted in the English romantic tradition of Elgar and Vaughan Williams and this is evident in the dramatic settings of Pushkin (Winter Passions), Shakespeare (Terrible Beauty) and TS Eliot (Marina), all stunningly performed by baritone Stephan Loges and mezzo Susan Bickley.
The ravishing Terrible Beauty, op. 104, for mezzo-soprano and seven players (flute, bass clarinet, harp and string quartet) was composed in 2007 and is largely set of Enobarbus’s famous eulogy of Cleopatra in Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, describing her progress down the River Cydnus to Tarsus in a gilded barge, attended by servants dressed as sea nymphs and watched by all the citizens of the town. In Winter Passions Matthews conjures up a Russian scene with use of traditional Russian folksong and pizzicato on the strings sounding like the strumming of a balalaika.
String Trio No 2
David Matthews: Clarinet Quartet
II. Molto vivace
David Matthews: Marina
David Matthews: String Trio, Op. 48
I. Allegro aperto
II. Vivacissimo e ritmico
III. Poco adagio con tenerezza
IV. Allegro come prima
David Matthews: String Trio No. 2
String Trio No. 2
David Matthews: Winter Passions, Op. 77
20th June 2010
“Loges [is] powerfully eloquent...In Terrible Beauty, Matthews vividly juxtaposes seductress evocations by Homer of Hera (sung by Bickley, with harp accompaniment) and Shakespeare of Cleopatra. Winter Passions is a fine baritone cycle of three of DM Thomas’s Pushkin translations.”
“Matthews's ability to write music which is not merely "upbeat" but expressively wide-ranging and emotionally exuberant is heard here at its best...[his] bold eloquence takes on an evocative late-Romantic quality...that moves forward with rapt determination. Performance values are of the highest throughout this disc.”
“The writing has many of David Matthews's familiar strengths: a fine sensuous imagination, adventurous harmony that makes clear aural sense, an equally clear sense of organic development of ideas...It's hard to imagine this music played, sung, or recorded better.”