DAVID MATTHEWS (b.1943): Piano Quintet, Op. 92 (World Premiere Recording), DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975): Piano Quintet in G Minor, Op. 57.
Catalogue Number: 06R065
Reference: CD 0157
Description: Matthews' 2004 quintet is a genial, easy-going work, classically structured in four movements and very tonal. Its 'overall happy mood' is explained by the composer by its having been an engagement present to his wife. The first movement consists of variations on a lyrical, very English pastoral theme, while the second is a tango, a dance form that recurs frequently in Matthews' output. This one is relatively straightforward, animated and vigorous but lacking the dark undercurrents and eroticism often associated with this dance. The slow movement is a chaconne, very reminiscent in style and mood to the Intermezzo of the Shostakovich. The bass rises by a third on each repetition, thus returning to its original pitch after three cycles. The giocoso finale is a vignette of a walking vacation through sun-drenched Italian landscapes, complete with faithfully notated distant church bells, leading to a joyous conclusion. A most attractive work, beautifully crafted and thoroughly accessible. Martin Cousin (piano), Villiers String Quartet.