One of the most grown-up review sites around

51,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider


Reger Violin Sonatas
Renate Eggebrecht violin

Brahms Symphony 3
Dvorak Symphony 8
9 cello sonatas
Piano Music

Clara Schumann
piano concerto

Asmik Grigorian

Breathtaking Performance
controversial staging
Review Westbrook
Review Hedley
Every lover of Salome should see this recording
Mullenger interpretation

Vraiment magnifique!

Quite splendid

Winning performances

Mahler Symphony 8
a magnificent disc

a huge talent

A wonderful disc

Weinberg Symphonies 2 & 21
A handsome tribute!

Roth’s finest Mahler yet

Mahler 9 Blomstedt
Distinguished performance


Plain text for smartphones & printers

We are currently offering in excess of 51,000 reviews

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Support us financially by purchasing
this disc through MusicWeb
for £10.50 postage paid world-wide.

Matthew TAYLOR (b.1964)
String Quartet No.5 Op.35 (2007-08) [14:41] ¹
String Quartet No.6, Op.36 (2006-08) [18:38] ²
String Quartet No.7, Op.37 (2008-09) [20:45] ³
Dante String Quartet ¹
Allegri String Quartet ²
Salieri String Quartet ³
rec. May 2012, All Saints’ Church, Durham Road, East Finchley, London

Matthew Taylor is a consummate string quartet composer. His music enshrines a personal voice that may reflect influences but has deeply absorbed them. It is fluidly constructed and generates its own sense of time and direction. It is marked by strong characterisation and genuine craft and it honours the past without being in any way dependent on it.
The three quartets on this disc, unusually all played by different groups, offer supporting evidence. The Fifth Quartet was written between 2007 and 2008 and opens with a jagged vehemence that nestles somewhere between Bartók and, more pertinently, the opening of Beethoven’s Op.95 quartet, a work Taylor acknowledges as lying behind this opening. Thenceforth Taylor manages to ensure that the three movements – an Allegro furioso, a Fuga and a final Lullaby - run seamlessly, and that textures and dynamics register fully. The concluding adagio, the lullaby, registers as a slow, but inevitable winding down, an ‘all passion spent’ span that reflects the direction of the music with well-calibrated logic.
The Sixth Quartet overlapped the Fifth, compositionally, having been started in 2006 but finished in the same year as the earlier work, 2008. Here taut anxiety is replaced, in the opening, by leaping energy (‘Giubiloso’) that gradually dissipates into more reflective, expressive material leading to a Romanza and then an Andante where individual textures and lines are pursued rather more than strenuous unisons. This more exposed sound world may reflect something of Holmboe’s or Robert Simpson’s voices. The finale returns, geometrically, to the vigour and energy of the opening though also looks to the inner movements too.
The following year Taylor finished his Seventh Quartet. It exemplifies those qualities of logic and fluidity that run throughout these works. Though here the climaxes register powerfully, what remains perhaps even more impressive is the sheer skill with which transitions are enacted – how well they are prepared for and judged. The moods and contrasts are strong in themselves and whilst there are elements of slapstick in the scherzo – a tribute to Taylor’s favoured comedians – he manages deftly to nod to the airiness of Mendelssohnian chamber writing whilst never straying into pastiche.
The Allegri and Dante may be better known, but the Salieri Quartet is equally responsive and flexible in Taylor’s music, and all three have been beautifully recorded. Admirers of this dextrous and valuable composer should have no qualms in acquiring this disc.
Jonathan Woolf