Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Don't let me be misunderstood


A Facebook comment on yesterday's post about the impending demise of BBC Radio 3 leads to the music of the Welsh composer William Mathias (1934-1992). His choral music is often performed, but his instrumental music deserves to be better known. Mathias composed three symphonies - a fourth was not completed - and three string quartets. The three symphonies have been recorded for Nimbus and the quartets by the Medea Quartet for Metier. William Mathias swum against the musical and cultural tide by valuing creativity more than conformity, as David Wright explains in an appreciation of this underestimated composer:
Mathias was often misunderstood. He developed an original idea of what some have termed 'recessional music' which, put simply, means that instead of music heading towards a climax or resolution it recedes from that expected point. It was part of his quest for originality to de-conventionalise tradition and, in that, one can but admire him.
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2 comments:

Margaret Jones said...

William was my tutor at Bangor. Lovely man, whose music is sadly neglected.

kenpat said...

I agree his music is neglected, I have the string quartets, symphonies and violin sonatas but no choral music I love the string quartets and they are worthy of much more airplay. Radio 3 needs to get with the programme.
There is a huge list of underrepresented British composers that our national serious music station should be promoting.