by Colin Matthews

large orchestra
Full Orchestra
Instrumentation - 4331 - timp -perc(4): crot/metal chimes/lujon/5 tuned gong/glsp/bell tree/sleigh bells/2 siz.cym/handbells/2 springcoils/2 brake drum/vib/susp.cym/3 bell plates/mark tree/brass bells/3 tam-t/t.bells - pno - harp - strings (10 vln.10.vla.10 vlc.8 db)
Commissioned by the London Symphony Orchestra for the opening concert of Mstislav Rostropovich's 1993 Festival of Britten
First Performance
25.2.93, Barbican Hall, London: London Symphony Orchestra/Mstislav Rostropovich

Study score (fp) 0-571-55719-8 on sale, full score and parts for hire

Programme Notes
Colin Matthews Memorial Memorial lasts for approximately twenty minutes and is divided into five sections: the first section and most of the fourth are for strings alone (there are ten each of violins, violas and cellos), with piano and harp. Matthews describes the work’s course: ‘Underpinning the music is a pedal note, a constant C sharp usually in the bass register but often moving up through the orchestra, which persists until the final section, a forceful processional, which moves away from the staticness of the rest. Other landmarks are the percussion – entirely metal percussion – held back until the third section: and a kind of “refrain” of four chords, heard first near the beginning on piano and harp, and as the final gesture of the work.’ The composer was partly influenced by something that came after the title and after the work’s general character had been decided: ‘In the spring of 1992 I visited for the first time my grandfather’s grave on the Somme, and at the same times saw the extraordinary Thiepval Memorial, designed by Lutyens to commemorate the 73,000 or so soldiers missing on the Somme battlefields between 1916 and 1917. Though there is not the least attempt at descriptive or pictorial writing in this work, the objectivity of this great untriumphal arch is something that I have aimed at matching.’ Philip Reed Please contact Philip Reed for permission to use this.

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News & Reviews

'Memorial' reviews

‘… the most staggering orchestral work I have heard this decade. Concentrated, intense, and turbulent, this piece contains more substance and craft than many a repertoire behemoth. Hear it and be amazed and enriched." Chris Dench, Soundscapes, October 1996 Read more

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