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Colin Matthews

Publisher: Novello & Co

Fourth Sonata (1976)
Novello & Co Ltd
Sub Category
Large Orchestra
Year Composed
24 Minutes
Programme Note
Colin Matthews Fourth Sonata (1976)
When I planned the work, I gave its three main sections the working titles of 'Intensification', 'Complexity' and 'Simplification', with the central section subdivided into three in a way which exactly parallels the divisions of the whole. I also gave the piece a subtitle which reflected the fact that I saw the music in terms of colours: but the subtitle was later withdrawn, not least because I decided that the colours I had suggested were, in retrospect, inappropriate ones. However, the concept of large areas of colour, applied as if in large brush-strokes, is perhaps a useful way of seeing the work; and its preoccupations still seem valid to me, at a distance of nearly 25 years, especially the idea of 'intensification', which has remained a central concern.

Colin Matthews, September 1998

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More gratifying, the reception was equally rapturous for Colin Matthews' Fourth Sonata, the latest in the Encore series of significant British orchestral works. Born of Matthews' flirtation with American minimalism in 1974, the emphasis on sonority is reflected in the very precisely and imaginatively judged soundworld. Yet Matthews' working of thematic strands adds a calm expressivity that, in the string writing in particular, militates against the domination of rhythmic and textural factors - even if, ultimately, it was the violently explosive percussion that proved so compelling.
Rian Evans, The Guardian,21/01/2005
Its title is deceptive. This is no chamber effort, but a large-scale 25-minute epic in which a young composer can be heard attempting to synthesise many diverse influences: the pulsating motor rhythms of American minimalism (new and exciting in 1974); the sinuous, lonely string melodies of his mentor, Britten; and the thick, lush mesh of discords which was such a ubiquitous feature of the mid-20th century European avant-gardeā€¦ I enjoyed it, and the audience response was exceptionally warm. So, encore!
Richard Morrison, The Times,21/01/2005
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