Intensely expressive, and driven by an urgent lyrical impulse, Matthews’ Postludes for oboe octet has been released on NMC. The performers are Nicholas Daniel and the Britten Sinfonia, who premiered this substantial piece at London’s Wigmore Hall in 2019.
The 16-minute work is dedicated to the memory of Oliver Knussen and is scored for oboe (doubling cor anglais), string trio and string quartet. A searing Prelude is followed by an ‘Elegaic Intermezzo’ for oboe and string trio alone. Next, the music opens out into a Barcarolle, with the cor anglais reserved for a plangent Epilogue.
‘Beautiful but muscular, it opens with drone-like attack, full of whirring and liquid string effects, then shifts down a gear late on, when cor anglais replaces oboe in touching elegy.’
The Observer (Fiona Maddocks), 7 February 2019