DAVID MATTHEWS (b.1943): Complete String Quartets, Vol. 3 - No. 1, Op. 4, No. 2, Op. 16, No. 3, Op. 18, Scriabin/D.Matthews: Prelude, Op. 74/4
Catalogue Number: 12Q060
Label: Toccata Classics
Reference: TOCC 0060
Description: The First is a product of the composer's twenties, and clearly shows a young composer already naturally drawn to the quartet medium, still in the process of absorbing significant early influences. The work was extensively revised and shortened to its present single-movement form several years after it was originally written, without changing its overall structure or harmonic language, which is more ambiguously tonal than Matthews' later idiom, with distinct echoes of Schoenberg's epic First Quartet and pre-serial Second Viennese extreme chromaticism in general. Nicholas Maw's First Quartet, with its telescoping of distinct sections into a single span, is also an acknowledged influence. The Second is more conventionally structured, and begins in a similar idiom, but the central scherzo takes an unexpected turn in revealing the young composer's interest in rock music! The last movement shows Matthews moving toward the more tonal idiom of his later works, with Beethoven (fleetingly glimpsed in the First) now a significant model, alongside some more adventurous quartet textures than previously attempted. The Third announces the composer's mature quartet style; a taut single span, very tonal, incorporating the forms of conventional movements in a concentrated and expressive musical argument. Kreutzer Quartet.