FAURÉ Romance MATTHEWS Romanza
On the face of it, Fauré might not seem like the most obvious of pairings for the music of David Matthews, but apparently he’s Matthews’s own choice. ‘The pursuit of beauty in his music is something that strongly attracts me’, he writes in the booklet notes for this captivating recital, and when you hear the opening bars of the first piece recorded here, Matthews’s 2007 sonatina-by-any-other-name Adonis, it all makes perfect sense. The opening invocation for piano (representing Adonis), its response from the violin (a seductive Venus), and the way the music immediately blossoms into a lilting melody: we’re not far here from the world of Szymanowski’s Mythes. Matthews has a gift for drawing new beauties from traditional mediums and the ending of this graceful three-movement work, when he finally uncovers the Welsh folk song upon which the whole piece is based, is magical in its simplicity.
Matthews composed the piece for Sara Trickey, and there’s no reason why this performance shouldn’t be considered definitive. Trickey and Daniel Tong really have the measure of Matthews’s musical language, finding an improvisatory quality in the Aria of 1986 and bringing an understated wit to the Romanza (2012) – written to prove that contemporary music can still say something meaningful in waltz time. These are natural, unforced performances, recorded in a clear acoustic that nicely captures the gleam of Trickey’s sound. In a crowded field, their account of Fauré’s A major Sonata holds up well enough too; there’s a to-and-fro between the pair and an engaging intimacy in the way Trickey’s lines are buoyed up by Tong’s marginally more assertive playing. But you’ll buy this for the David Matthews, and you’ll be glad you did.