MATTHEW TAYLOR (b.1964): Chamber Music, Vol. 3 - Serenata Trionfale for Wind Octet, Op. 34, Wind Quintet, Op. 51, Trio in memoriam VH for Flute, Violin and Cello, Op. 21, Skål! for Wind Quintet, Introduction and Capriccio for Wind Octet, Op. 7.
Catalogue Number: 08U064
Label: Toccata Classics
Reference: TOC 0486
Description: Most of the works here are influenced in some way by Taylor's great admiration for Nielsen in particular and Danish music in general, and all benefit from his thorough knowledge of and enthusiasm for wind music, as a former wind ensemble player himself. The Serenata is a companion piece and humorous response to Nielsen's Serenata in vano, in which a group of wind players serenade a lady, to no avail. Taylor's piece depicts a second attempt, in which their efforts are consummated! Even without knowing the background story, this is unmistakably a tribute to Nielsen; Taylor achieves the same brio, the same effortless good nature that the Dane, in certain moods, excelled at. Taylor's vocabulary is very much based on Nielsen's, though without pastiching it; his use of harmony builds on it, much as Robert Simpson's did. The Wind Quintet was inspired by Nielsen's, though it is more independent of it than the Serenade. The bulk of the piece is a series of character pieces based on dances - a jolly hornpipe, a slightly subdued and uncertain waltz, a forceful tarantella - each featuring a different instrument in a concertante role. Skål is an occasional piece, assembled almost entirely out of fragments of Nielsen symphonies - can you spot them all? V.H. Is Vagn Holmboe, another important figure in Taylor's musical life; the two composers were friends in Holmboe's last years. This little trio is more of an affectionate personal reflection than a tragic public memorial, though the last movement, incorporating a plaintive quotation from Holmboe's 10th Symphony, has an elegiac air. The early Introduction and Capriccio prefaces a buoyant second section which quotes Beethoven's 4th (which Taylor was conducting at the time) with a serious first; the influence of Nielsen can clearly be heard in the work's harmony and ebullient extroversion. The Waldegrave Ensemble.