D Matthews • Vaughan Wil­liams

BBC Music Magazine - - Orchestral Reviews -

Vaughan Wil­liams: Nor­folk Rhap­sodies Nos 1 & 2; Mu­sic for an EFDS Masque; Vari­a­tions for Orches­tra; The Blue Bird – in­ci­den­tal mu­sic; Christ­mas Over­ture; D Matthews: Nor­folk March

Royal Scot­tish Na­tional Orches­tra/ Martin Yates

Dut­ton Epoch CDLX 7351 (hy­brid CD/ SACD) 76:38 mins

At least 40 min­utes – more than half this

CD – con­sists of first record­ings: just over ten min­utes of these for a new David Matthews work leaves an im­pres­sive amount of ‘new’ Vaughan Wil­liams. Most cu­ri­ous is the 1913 in­ci­den­tal mu­sic for an ap­par­ently aborted London pro­duc­tion of Maeter­linck’s The Blue Bird. Through the English­man’s dreamy modal style one may hear a good deal of French in­flu­ence, in­clud­ing vague the­matic rec­ol­lec­tions of Dukas’s Sorcerer’s Ap­pren­tice – ap­pro­pri­ate for a fan­tas­ti­cal sce­nario in­volv­ing danc­ing loaves, fire and water. But it’s not re­ally Vaughan Wil­liams ter­ri­tory, and it’s a re­lief to hear his authen­tic voice in Nor­folk Rhap­sody No. 1 given a good, pol­ished per­for­mance, if rather short of at­mos­phere. The sec­ond Rhap­sody, com­pleted by Stephen ★og­ger, is a cu­ri­ous piece with a fore­taste of VW’S Shep­herds of the De­lec­ta­ble Moun­tains.

The new David Matthews piece re-imag­ines a lost Vaughan Wil­liams work, more or less fol­low­ing its de­tailed pro­gramme note. It starts with a very con­vinc­ing im­i­ta­tion of VW’S style; but then, re­flect­ing on the calamity of the

First World War, Matthews, as he writes in the ac­com­pa­ny­ing book­let note, makes ‘a dras­tic change from

what Vaughan Wil­liams would have done’, and we en­ter a more vi­o­lent mid-20th cen­tury world.

Of the rest, VW’S Vari­a­tions, ar­ranged by Gor­don Ja­cob, has been more ex­cit­ingly recorded by Neville Mar­riner; and the two folk tune med­leys, as edited and com­pleted by Martin Yates, are pleas­ant – the Christ­mas Over­ture may make this an ap­pro­pri­ate stock­ing filler. Daniel Jaffé



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