Matthew Taylor: Symphony No. 2, Viola Concerto

Catalogue No: TOCC0175
EAN/UPC: 5060113441751
Release Date: 2013-07-01
Composer: Matthew Taylor
Artists: BBC Symphony Orchestra, Garry Walker, Sarah-Jane Bradley

Matthew Taylor's sense of musical architecture extends the symphonic tradition of Sibelius and Nielsen into the modern age, also acknowledging the symphonism of Robert Simpson, an important influence on Taylor's style. The Second Symphony, first drafted when Taylor was only 27, responds to the challenge with a mighty explosion of energy, in a work his fellow-composer Robin Holloway described as 'exceedingly powerful — tough, cogent, persuasive, compelling'. The more inward, reflective Viola Concerto pays homage in spirit, though not in style, to Sibelius' Humoresker for violin and orchestra and Schumann's Humoreske for piano.

Sarah-Jane Bradley, viola
BBC Symphony Orchestra, orchestra
Garry Walker, conductor

9 reviews for Matthew Taylor: Symphony No. 2, Viola Concerto

  1. :

    ‘…the Second of Matthew Taylor’s three symphonies to date proves a strikingly powerful and enviably cogent utterance in the mould of Nielsen, Tippett, Simpson and John McCabe – yes, honestly, the music is that good! … Viola Concerto (2010) represents another mightily impressive achievement, durably rewarding in its combination of soaring lyricism, expressive clout and sly wit, and always evincing a consummate craftsmanship and richly stocked imagination. … Performances, production-values and presentation are all one could desire. Investigate without delay!’

    —Andrew Achenbach, Classical Ear

  2. :

    ‘Back in May we introduced you to one of Britain’s most up-and-coming composers, Matthew Taylor (b. 1964), who’s music is currently being championed by Toccata Classics. …Accordingly Taylor’s music is in the English late romantic mold, but like that of [Robert] Simpson there are Scandinavian touches recalling Nielsen (1865-1931), Sibelius (1865-1957) and Holmboe (1909-1996).’

    —Bob McQuiston, CLOFO

  3. :

    ‘…the performance is excellent and well recorded. The orchestra displays tight ensemble throughout. If you’ve responded to previous releases of Taylor’s music, you won’t need further convincing from me. His colorful, expertly scored music draws you in and always maintains a sense of propulsion and direction, even in its quieter moments. This release is strongly recommended.’

    —Phillip Scott Fanfare Magazine

  4. :

    ‘Bradley has made the piece very much her own and negotiates with great aplomb its frequent excursions into the viola’s upper register, as well as its idiomatically written double-stops. Both Taylor’s Concerto and his Second Symphony – an even more impressively constructed composition – receive here definitive readings that have been most faithfully recorded.’

    —Carlos María Solare The Strad

  5. :

    I had heard snippets of Taylor’s symphony on the site, but I was completely bowled over by the work in its entirety. It still amazes me how much there is still to be had from tonality in music. And Taylor manages to find a unique voice. I hope you will record his other two symphonies in the near future! Keep up the good work! My sincere congratulations on what must be the most interesting record label of the last few decades!

  6. :

    ‘The performances do the music proud and the booklet contains some very helpful notes. Once again I listened to this as a download from, both mp3 and CD-quality lossless and the recording is very good.’

    —Brian Wilson, MusicWeb International

  7. :

    Taylor’s orchestral writing is fluent and attractively laid out for performers and audiences alike. […]

    Bradley catches the sense of joy in the concerto brilliantly, TAYLOR Symphony No. 2; Viola Concerto
    moulding the fragmentary structure (inspired by Schumann’s and Sibelius’ Humoresques) convincingly. The symphony is a powerful and cogent work culminating in an epic delivery, superbly performed. A superlative disc.’

    —Guy Rickards, Klassisk Musikkmagasin, November 2013

  8. :

    ‘It’s quite something when a piece of music opens as arrestingly as does Matthew Taylor’s Second Symphony, a sort of cosmic explosion that immediately obliges attention and suggests that the whole world of the next 37 minutes is already implicit but it needs to be explored and expanded. […]

    one becomes incredulous that this striking work [Symphony No.2] completed in 1991 should be unperformed until the date of this recording […] this is a tremendous and genuine Symphony, superbly performed and vividly recorded. […]

    Sarah-Jane Bradley plays with top-end technique and penetrating musicianship. […]

    As ever with this enterprising label the presentation and annotation is first-rate, and includes a note by the composer […] Meanwhile this current publication is recommended with all possible enthusiasm.’

    —Colin Anderson, Classical Source

  9. :

    ‘Matthew Taylor’s terrific Second Symphony is coupled with his fine Viola Concerto in highly recommendable performances on a new release from Toccata Classics […]

    What stands out in this terrific symphony is Taylor’s use of the orchestra. There is that unstoppable energy that is reminiscent of Robert Simpson but the exquisitely beautiful moments, delicately conceived show Taylor’s inventiveness and ear for subtle colours and sonorities. Garry Walker and the BBC Symphony Orchestra are on great form in these works.

    With an excellent recording from BBC Studio 1, Maida Vale, London and informative booklet notes by Giles Easterbrook and the composer, I cannot recommend this new disc highly enough. I will be seeking out more works by this fine composer.’

    —Douglas Reader, The Classical Reviewer

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