On 5 February Martyn Brabbins conducted the BBC National Orchestra of Wales in a live studio broadcast that included Colin Matthews’ …through the glass for ensemble of 16 players. Composed in 1994, this evocative 16-minute work takes its title from the words of a poem by Edmund Blunden. The opening is fiercely monodic (a single-line melody), music which recurs in the form only once, after a series of refrain-like episodes, the last of which is a hushed ‘chorale’ for muted strings (more like a distant song than a chorale). A central fast section fleetingly alludes to all the earlier material, before a recapitulation of the refrains leads to an apotheosis of the ‘chorale’ in an extended coda.
The BBC NOW concert also features Matthews’ string orchestra arrangement of Britten’s Temporal Variations, with the saxophonist Jess Gillam taking the solo part (originally written for oboe).
Listen to the BBC concert online here