Figures, suspended still and ghostly white, The past hovering as it revisits the light.


The closing lines of Edward Thomas’s ‘It Rains’ have lent a title to Figures, suspended, a 5-minute oboe solo Matthews has composed for the 4th Barbirolli International Oboe Festival and Competition. Matthews is also at work on a setting of the poem, to be premiered by baritone Roderick Williams and the Nash Ensemble in March 2017. (It’s not the first time Matthews has been drawn to the work of Thomas, having previously set his Out in the Dark in a 2006 NMC Songbook commission.)


Meanwhile, Thomas’s ‘The Trumpet’ features in Voices of the Air, for soprano, chorus and chamber orchestra, commissioned to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the London Festival Chorus. Taking its name from a poem by Katherine Mansfield, the five-movement work also sets poetry by Dickinson, Tagore and Longfellow.