Colin Matthews - A Land of Rain

[Colin Matthews]…the Isambard Kingdom Brunel of contemporary music: master of great time machines, steamy with energy derived from pulse and from massive surging harmony, and openly displaying their structural engineering, all finished with a craftsman’s care.

Paul Griffiths, author and critic

A Land of Rain for soprano Claire Booth, premiered 10 June 2017 at CBSO Centre, Birmingham, conducted by Oliver Knussen.

One of the first composers to be commissioned through the scheme, Colin Matthews’ 1994 Sound Investment
…through the glass took its title from the last three words of a ‘dark and sinister’ poem by Edmund Blunden.

At the turn of the millennium, Simon Rattle conducted Matthew’s Continuum at the Barbican, the composer’s second Sound Investment commission (for voice and 23 player ensemble), setting the poetry of Eugenio Montale and Rainer Maria Rilke.

22 years on from …through the glass Matthews returns for his third Sound Investment commission; this new vocal work for soprano Claire Booth takes it inspiration from Nicholas Moore’s translations of Baudelaire and premieres 10 June 2017 in our season finale concert, alongside works from Oliver Knussen and Harrison Birtwistle.

Colin Matthews was born in London in 1946; he read Classics at the University of Nottingham, afterwards studying composition there with Arnold Whittall, and at the same time with Nicholas Maw. In the 1970s he taught at the University of Sussex, as well as working at Aldeburgh with Benjamin Britten and with Imogen Holst.

Matthews’ works encompass many genres and instrumentations, from the huge choral/orchestral work Renewal commissioned by the BBC in 1996, to Divertimento (1982) for double string quartet, solo pieces such as Bassoonova (2003) for bassoon, to a substantial body of piano work. Pluto, the renewer – an addition to Holst’s Planets for the Hallé Orchestra and Kent Nagano in 2000 – has been performed from the USA and Finland to Japan and the Netherlands.

Colin Matthews is founder and Executive Producer of NMC Recordings and Composer-in-Association with the Hallé – for whom he completed his orchestrations of Debussy’s 24 Preludes in 2007 – from 2001-10. He is now the orchestra’s Composer Emeritus.

Aside from his commissions for the group, BCMG has also performed many of Matthews’ other works, including Elegiac Chaconne, Dowlandia, Mechanik’s Bench, The Journey Ends Here, Margaret’s Galliard and Ms Cookhorn’s Fancie, the latter two pieces being written by the composer for Margaret Cookhorn, BCMG’s bassoonist.