DAVID MATTHEWS (b.1943): The Music of Dawn, Op. 50, Concerto in Azzurro for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 87, A Vision and a Journey, Op. 60.
Catalogue Number: 03K085
Description: This British symphonist (his complete symphonic œuvre - 7 to date - is in the pipeline) has a substantial body of other orchestral music to his credit as well, from which these premiere recordings make a welcome appetizer for the symphony cycle. Dawn draws on the paintings of Cecil Collins (1908-1989) and the composer's experiences of the natural beauty of the British coastline in a large, evocative symphonic poem, not a little Sibelian or Nielsenesque in vocabulary (and thoroughly though not unadventurously tonal as that suggests). Sibelius also comes to mind in Vision which also sustains a potent narrative thread and draws on experiences of real places. Determinedly forward-moving music portrays an epic journey; some form of mystical direction for this is suggested by 'visionary' music, which redirects the piece at key points. The concerto has a kind of concentrated tension as it progresses toward a tonal goal associated by the composer with a luminous shade of the color blue, glimpsed on a sea-journey. Alternating agitated toccata-like music and serene contemplation, ultimately resolving into the latter, the concerto is very much another example of the composer's vivid non-programmatic yet powerfully narrative tone-poetry. Guy Johnston (cello), BBC Philharmonic; Rumon Gamba.