The score to Colin Matthews' The Great Journey

In four scenes for baritone and eight instrumentalists, The Great Journey tells the story of the Spanish colonisation of the Americas in all its extremity and brutality. Adapted from Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca’s epic narrative of the 1527 Narváez expedition, Matthews sets its chronicle of various disasters, ambitions, atrocities, and regrets with an unerring feel for vocal and instrumental drama across its 50-minute span. It is a desolate and arresting account of imperialism, Matthews drawing uncannily on the music of 16th-century Mexican composer Fernando Franc. The score was first performed in 1988 by the Nash Ensemble.

“An economical and highly inventive score…The Great Journey is a work which both compels and replays attention.”
Classic CD (Terry Blain), December 1997