David Matthews: Music for Solo Violin, Volume One

Catalogue No: TOCC0152
EAN/UPC: 5060113441522
Release Date: 2013-08-05
Composer: David Matthews
Artists: Peter Sheppard Skærved

David Matthews' Fifteen Fugues for solo violin, composed over four years between 1998 and 2002, not only constitute what is probably the largest set of violin fugues by a living composer; they also form an extended essay in musical portraiture, with each fugue 'depicting' its dedicatee. Like the Three Studies (1985) and Winter Journey (1982-83), a tone-poem for solo violin inspired by Schubert's Winterreise, they pose extraordinary technical challenges to the performer.

Peter Sheppard Skærved, violin

Listen To This Recording:

    Three Studies, Op. 39 (1985)

  1. No. 1 Andante appassionato
  2. No. 2 Vivo e fantastico
  3. No. 3 Lento/Allegro
  4. Fifteen Fugues, Op. 88 (1998–2002)

  5. No. 1 Maestoso
  6. No. 2 Scorrevole (‘For Mark’)
  7. No. 3 Moderato (‘For James’)
  8. No. 4 Lento (‘For Roger and Sophie’)
  9. No. 5 Allegro festivo (‘For Roxanna and Stephen’)
  10. No. 6 Molto moderato (‘For Isabelle’)
  11. No. 7 Con fantasia, come un uccello (‘For Rosamund on her 75th birthday’)
  12. No. 8 Allegro sostenuto (‘For Carl on his 65th birthday’)
  13. No. 9 Allegretto (‘For Judith on her 50th birthday’)
  14. No. 10 Largo (‘For Peter’)
  15. No. 11 Andante con moto (‘For William’)
  16. No. 12 Lento serioso (‘For Jarek on his 50th birthday’)
  17. No. 13 Allegro (‘For Colin’)
  18. No. 14 Andante/Vivacissimo (‘For Anthony and Helen’)
  19. No. 15 Molto moderato (‘For Jenifer’)
  20. Winter Journey, Op. 32 (1982)

6 reviews for David Matthews: Music for Solo Violin, Volume One

  1. :

    ‘Toccata Classics continues its valuable coverage of David Matthews with the first instalment of his music for solo violin – a medium for which his contribution is second to none among composers of his generation, and which itself is dominated by probably the most extensive and surely the most impressive series of unaccompanied fugues from any post-war figure. Throughout the disc, Sheppard Skaerved plays with an accomplishment and insight that explain why Matthews should have been encouraged to write extensively for solo violin.’

    —Richard Whitehouse, International Record Review

  2. :

    ‘It would be hard to imagine a better way for those interested in David Matthews’s compositions for solo violin to immerse themselves in them. Peter Sheppard Skærved’s collection offers performances by the violinist for whom Matthews wrote the pieces, as well as extensive notes … by both composer and performer. …anyone who has the slightest interest in David Matthews’s work should find everything about the production illuminating, while violinists and more general listeners should find in Winter Journey a musical ocean in which they might swim virtually forever. Very strongly recommended.’

    —Robert Maxham, Fanfare Magazine

  3. :

    ‘…In every respect Peter Sheppard Skærved, to whom the tenth fugue is dedicated, proves a fearless ambassador bringing his taut tone to bear allied to a typically close-up church acoustic, a favoured sound for him, as much in Tartini solo works as in contemporary Matthews. It catches the resinous commitment of his playing. …Once again Sheppard Skærved proves to be an intermediary of great acumen. When it comes to tone production he is not prepared to sacrifice acidic for silken if it better suits the music’s message. He is fearless in this close-up, full-on recording and has written some fascinating notes as well.’

    —Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International

  4. :

    ‘While the monumental 15 Fugues for solo violin charm and astonish, it’s the passionate Schubert homage Winter Journey that’s the high point. Peter Sheppard Skaerved’s playing sets a gold standard.’

    —Calum MacDonald, BBC Music Magazine, March 2014

  5. :

    ‘David Matthews är en av Englands ledande nutida tonsättare och violinisten Peter Sheppard Skaerved har länge varit en förkämpe för hans musik. Deras samarbete har resulterat i en unik och omfattande repertoar för soloviolin. David Matthews musik har mer sina rötter i traditionen från Benjamin Britten än kontinental modernism. Hans uttrycksregister är stort och den timslånga resan tillsammans med en ensam violin fascinerar med sin uppfinnings- och variationsrikedom. De Bach-inspirerade femton fugorna utgör större delen av skivan. Musiken visar på Matthews intresse för att utforska klassisk form och tonalitet. I ”Three Studies” möter man mer flyktiga tankar medan ”Winter Journey” associerar till Schubert.’

    —Staffan Storm, http://www.sydsvenskan.se

  6. :

    ‘ In Three Studies (1986), soaring lyricism and electrifying virtuosity are the order of the day. The three are related and make a thrilling program opener.

    The 15 Fugues (1998–2002) are tours de force for composer and violinist alike. […] The whole set [of fugues] is nothing short of astonishing. […] These [fugues] should be of serious interest to both violinists and students of composition. […]

    Mr Skaerved, an especially fearless player specializing in difficult new music, outdoes himself in this extraordinary program. His thorough and engaging notes are exemplary’

    American Record Guide

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