COLIN MATTHEWS (b.1946): Alphabicycle Order for Narrator, Childrens Choir and Orchestra (Henry Goodman [narrator], Choir; Edward Gardner [conductor], Horn Concerto (Richard Watkins [horn], Mark Elder [conductor].
Catalogue Number: 02K100
Reference: CD HLL 7515
Description: Alphabicycle sets 26 playful semi-nonsense childrens' poems by Christopher Reid, in the Edward Lear or Mervyn Peake mould. Using puns, malaprops and mondegreens, they are set for children's choir and/or narrator to lively, attractive music which adheres to a more conventional tonal language than Matthews frequently employs, making it instantly accessible to a younger or less sophisticated audience, though without any suggestion of condescension. The concerto is vintage Matthews; ingenious and crafted as clockwork; e motionally involving and poetic of content. The horn's hunting fathers are suggested by a quartet of offstage orchestral instruments, and throughout, Mahlerian nature-music tugs at the solo instrument, a call of the wild that threatens his integration into the orchestra in a series of episodes suggesting a tense personal psychological drama. Much of the solo material is songlike (despite an energetic and raucous central scherzo), and overall the work as the character of a compelling tragedy, the story of a lone voice at odds with his surrounding, told with so strong a sense of musical narrative that one is constantly searching for the literary model or archetype that surely lies behind the work's impassioned storytelling. Texts included. Hallé Orchestra.