Now in his sixty-fourth year and three years the junior of his composer brother David, it is hard to believe that Colin Matthews is approaching an age whereby that affectionate, if paradoxically unflattering tag of 'elder statesman' amongst British composers might be applied.
Something of an English Magnus Lindberg in his mastery of huge orchestral canvases and forces such as those employed in the Fourth and Fifth orchestral Sonatas, Matthews' considerable influence as a composer has been mirrored by his extra-curricular activities as a ……..Christopher Thomas @ musicweb-international.com
This disc committed to chamber music of Colin Matthews is an entry in NMC's Ancora series, a worthy venture devoted to bringing back into print recordings of contemporary music by British composers that have been deleted. Some of these pieces go back to the LP era, and even had to be transferred from vinyl as the original masters have gone astray. Divertimento for double string quartet (1982) is a signature piece from Matthews and unique in his output, being …………Uncle Dave Lewis @ AllMusic
"The Great Journey" is Colin Matthews' largest vocal work, running to nearly forty minutes. It is a setting of a condensation of the report by Alvar Nu-ez Cabeza de Vaca (c 1490 - c 1560) to Emperor Charles V. Cabeza de Vaca was part of a ill-planned Spanish expedition seeking the legendary (and unsubstantiated) treasures of Florida. The expedition shipwrecked. Left for dead in the swampy land, he was rescued by and lived among the Indians. He found three other stranded Spaniards. Together they made an incredible journey back to Spanish territory, travelling through totally unknown lands from Florida to Mexico, arriving at Spanish settlements nine years after their fleet left Spain……Joseph Stevenson @ AllMusic
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This Britten recital combines two of the composer’s major song cycles, Winter Words, from 1953, and Who are these Children? (1969). In them he explored themes of loneliness, transcience and war – difficult and harrowing material which would test any composer, but Britten is equal to the challenge. His music works its magic by bringing out poignant emotions and subtle insights, sometimes even more vividly than the texts on their own. The music’s emotional depth is grounded in compelling, quasi-naturalistic sound images, such as the whistling, rattling train in the setting of Thomas Hardy’s Midnight on the Great Western. Providing a lighter note between these gripping works are four settings of poems by Robert Burns, containing some of Britten’s most deft and delicate music. Composed on the request of Queen Elizabeth II in 1975, they originally formed part of a set of six songs for high voice and harp, and were later arranged for piano by Britten’s assistant Colin Matthews.
A collaboration stemming from longtime mutual admiration, Iain Matthews and Elliott Murphy find more than a little common ground on La Terre Commune. With each contributing four songs to covers of Bob Dylan's "Blind Willie McTell," Bruce Springsteen's "Sad Eyes," and Jesse Colin Young's "Darkness, Darkness," the two succeed in creating a seamlessly cohesive song cycle…