The Deal Festival (7-16 July) marks the first of several celebrations of David Matthews’ 80th birthday this summer. The festival, where Matthews was Artistic Director for over a decade, has been home to numerous performances of his music. This year presents a cross-section of Matthews’ work, beginning with a performance of Introit (1981) for two trumpets and strings from Resonate Chamber Orchestra conducted by Henry Kennedy; the 6 ½-minute piece is a musical elaboration of great Gothic architecture, with the pair of trumpets inspired by the angelic musicians of Lincoln cathedral.
On 11 July Matthews’ longstanding champions the Kreutzer Quartet perform his String Quartet No.17, premiered last month at the Aldeburgh Festival, as well as the 14th Quartet and Matthews’ arrangement of Beethoven’s Eleven Bagatelles, Op.119. The festival also sees the Kegelstatt Trio perform Matthews’ dreamlike three-movement Sonatina for clarinet, viola, and piano on the evening of 10 July, following a recital earlier that day by Junyan Chen featuring Matthews’ 16-minute Variations for Piano (1997). On 12 July Maja Horvat and Joseph Havlat perform Matthews’ Adonis (2007) for violin and piano, a piece reflecting Matthews’ fascination with Classical art and literature, which has been a fertile source of inspiration across his output. Matthews will be in conversation with Christopher Cook on 10 July.
Matthews will also be a focus of Presteigne and Little Missenden Festivals in August and October, with whom he has also sustained long creative partnerships. Both festivals will feature screenings of A Composer’s Landscape, a new film about the composer from Barrie Gavin. Gavin lives in the Welsh borders near Presteigne, landscape evoked in Matthews’ 2014 orchestral work Toward Sunrise, which he dedicated to the filmmaker.