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Matthew Taylor: String Quartets Nos. 5, 6 And 7

Taylor / Dante String Quartet
Release Date: 02/26/2013 
Label:  Toccata Classics   Catalog #: 144   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Matthew Taylor
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 54 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

M. TAYLOR String Quartets Nos. 5 1 , 6 2 , and 7 3 1 Dante Str Qrt; 2 Allegri Str Qrt; 3 Salieri Str Qrt TOCCATA 0144 (54:22)

Matthew Taylor is a British composer whose works are well known in the United Kingdom and on Read more the continent. His Second Symphony was particularly well received at its world premiere in 2009, when it was played by the BBC Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Garry Walker. Taylor wrote his Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh string quartets between 2006 and 2009. On this disc, each is performed by a different group. The Dante Quartet: Krysia Osostowicz and Giles Francis, violins; Rachel Roberts, viola; and Richard Jenkinson, cello; play the tempestuous opening of the Fifth Quartet with a great deal of gusto. Taylor describes it as combative, and it most certainly is war-like. The interesting fact is that he wanted to start out with a rough and fiery opening that gradually grows calmer, allowing the piece to end in a lullaby. It is a fascinating premise and Taylor does it extremely well. His second movement is a fugue and his third is that beguiling lullaby that requires all instruments to be muted. The Dante Quartet plays the work with great expertise and considerable emotional content.

The Allegri Quartet: Ofer Volk and Rafael Todes, violins; Dorothea Vogel, viola; and Vanessa Lucas-Smith, cello; play Taylor’s Sixth Quartet with the romantic style it deserves. After the first jubilant opening, we hear Taylor’s musical love letter to Juliet, his bride, which was played on their wedding day in 2006. Thus, the pastoral second movement is labeled Romanza. It was a fabulous wedding gift. The Romanza can also be performed separately by a string orchestra. The remaining two movements of the work relate intimately to this momentous section. The third movement is slow and graceful, allowing silvery figures to dance in the mind’s eye. The work culminates in a wild Baccanale that restates the tune from the first movement and, at the very end, reiterates a version of the theme from the Romanza.

Played by the Salieri Quartet whose members are: Eric Meng and Anne Cady, violins; Doug Solowan, viola; and Traci Hoveskeland, cello, the Seventh Quartet is the most classically oriented of the pieces heard on this disc. Taylor took the opportunity to pay homage to Haydn and Mendelssohn, both of whom had anniversaries in 2009. In the first section there is a delicious cello solo that Hoveskeland plays with great finesse.

The jovial, light music of the second section could evoke dreams of tiny forest creatures gamboling on a sunlit glade, but they are soon chased away by slapstick comedians. This sparkling string quartet succeeds in bringing some of the wit of Haydn and a great deal of the lightness, grace, and transparency of Mendelssohn to Taylor’s contemporary audience. All of the performances of this substantial music are excellent, the sound is clear and the ambiance inviting. Since this is the first recording of each of these pieces, at this time there are no discs with which they can be compared.

FANFARE: Maria Nockin
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Works on This Recording

String Quartet No. 5, Op. 35 by Matthew Taylor
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 2007-2008 
Venue:  All Saint's Church, Durham Road, East Fi 
Length: 14 Minutes 6 Secs. 
String Quartet No. 6, Op. 36 by Matthew Taylor
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 2006-2008 
Venue:  All Saint's Church, Durham Road, East Fi 
Length: 18 Minutes 3 Secs. 
String Quartet No. 7, Op. 37 by Matthew Taylor
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 2008-2009 
Venue:  All Saint's Church, Durham Road, East Fi 
Length: 20 Minutes 5 Secs. 

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