Matthews's Debussy Orchestrations in Boston!

British conductor Sir Mark Elder recently conducted the Boston Symphony Orchestra in five performances which included two of Colin Matthews’s fine Debussy Prelude orchestrations alongside their piano originals.  These performances at the BSOs home at Symphony Hall, Boston, attracted rave reviews from the critics:

'The British composer Colin Matthews has orchestrated all of Debussy’s piano Preludes, and Elder chose two to present here — Feuilles Mortes from Book II and Ce qu’a vu le Vent d’ouest from Book I — each preceded by their original piano versions in performances by Lars Vogt, the evening’s soloist.
Orchestrations of various sorts make their way onto programs with some frequency, but one seldom has the opportunity to hear them in such close proximity to their originals. And Matthews has done an excellent job in imagining how Debussy might have heard these Preludes reborn as works for large orchestra.
In the ensemble’s Feuilles Mortes, the subtle harmonic tints of the original as well as its air of wistfulness were played out to wonderful coloristic effect. And the drama, violence, and sheer dynamism of Ce qu’a vu le Vent d’ouest also scaled up naturally to a vast orchestral canvas.'
The Boston Globe (Jeremy Eichler) 15  January 2011

'...we heard two of Debussy’s twenty-four piano Préludes — Feuilles mortes Livre 2 (1912-13) and Ce qu’a vu le vent d’ouest, Livre 1 (1909-10) — played first as written, by Eifel-born pianist Lars Vogt, then attacca in brand-new, sumptuous orchestrations by British composer/arranger Colin Matthews. The original scores crossed to North America immediately on publication and, given their startlingly otherworldly timbral and harmonic language, instantly posed questions whose answers powerfully define points of departure for modern music. The full, darkly luminous orchestrations were irresistible. They cannot possibly top the piano scores, of course. Their manifest perfection and star-grasping sonic vocabulary came through even via the medium of the bland, cold Hamburg Steinway D grand Mr. Vogt played. I don’t imagine that either Matthews or conductor Sir Mark Elder (Hallé Orchestra, Manchester, UK) would have attempted this lovely juxtaposition if they’d felt there was the slightest chance that the might of brass, woodwinds, and percussion would “beat up on” the piano originals. Spanking new transcriptions of this delicacy and richness are uncommon. I could not help but float a mind’s-eye sketch of the two-hand skeleton on which they are based through the great, towering structure of each orchestrated Prélude as it swept slowly through Symphony Hall. The Matthews transcriptions are magnificent new gems. They also hew closely and with audible deference to the architecture and affect of their models. I can’t wait to encounter the remaining twenty-two of them. If the piano itself was unengaging, at least the soloist’s polished pianism managed to draw from it what was needed, while sinewy small ensembles within the band entrusted with orchestral lines and harmonic commentaries always knitted themselves into impeccable, deftly unified brush strokes that truly added up to the Picture.'
The Boston Musical Intelligencer (Christopher Greenleaf), 19 January 2011