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New Messiaen CD released

British pianist Matthew Schellhorn is joined by the Soloists of the Philharmonia Orchestra in this recording of Olivier Messiaen's chamber works, including the eight-movement masterpiece Quartet for the End of Time, written while the composer was a prisoner of war and premiered in 1941 at the Stalag VIIIA camp in Silesia.

Marking one hundred years since the birth of the composer, the disc also includes the newly published Fantaisie for violin and piano (discovered after the composer's death) and the world première recording of a beautiful miniature for solo piano.



Soloists of the Philharmonia Orchestra

Buy CD from Amazon.co.uk (opens in new window)

Matthew Schellhorn on BBC Radio 3 In Tune

Matthew Schellhorn will be playing some items from his forthcoming Wigmore Hall programme and talking about his recent and forthcoming activities on BBC Radio 3's In Tune tomorrow (Friday 21 March 2008).

You can listen online at www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/intune and the interview should be just after 6 p.m.

Forthcoming Wigmore Hall recital

Matthew Schellhorn will be performing birdsong-inspired works by French composers Daquin, Rameau, Ravel, Dutilleux and Messiaen, and also bringing to completion the wonderful cycle of Stations written for him by Irish composer Ian Wilson.

Wigmore poster

There will also be favourites by Mozart and Chopin.

You can download the full flyer by clicking on the poster above.

Tickets begin at £10 and can booked by telephone (020 7935 2141) or online at www.wigmore-hall.org.uk.

Wigmore Hall

New Messiaen book from Ashgate

Olivier Messiaen: Music, Art and Literature
Christopher Dingle and Nigel Simeone (editors): Ashgate, 2007

"Before his death, Messiaen was, quite naturally, regarded as the primary, often the only, source of information about himself and his music. ... Matthew Schellhorn provides a prime example of the kind of recent scholarship that is not afraid to cast a critical eye upon the reliability of some of Messiaen's key pronouncements, in this case with respect to Stravinsky's Les Noces." (Preface)

When Olivier Messiaen died in 1992, the prevailing image was of a man apart; a deeply religious man whose only sources of inspiration were God and Nature and a composer whose music progressed along an entirely individual path, artistically impervious to contemporaneous events and the whims both of his contemporaries and the critics. Whilst such a view contains a large element of truth, the past ten years has seen an explosion of interest in the composer, and the work of a diverse range of scholars has painted a much richer, more complex picture of Messiaen. This volume presents some of the fruits of this research for the first time, concentrating on three broad, interrelated areas: Messiaen's relationship with fellow artists; key developments in the composer's musical language and technique; and his influences, both sacred and secular.

The volume assesses Messiaen's position as a creative artist of the twentieth century in the light of the latest research. In the process, it identifies some of the key myths, confusions and exaggerations surrounding the composer which often mask equally remarkable truths. In attempting to reveal some of those truths, the essays elucidate a little of the mystery surrounding Messiaen as a man, an artist, a believer and a musician. Specifically, the volume covers Messiaen's attitudes and associations to Cocteau, Stravinsky's Les Noces, Dutilleux and Toesca, as well as exploring his teaching techniques, the Traité de rythme, de couleur et d'ornithologie, Messiaen's harmony, performing and transcription techniques, composing for Ondes Martenot, his association with ballet, Saint François d'Assise and the influence of his faith.

Messiaen himself contributes directly in the form of a speech that he gave about the tapestry-maker Jean Lurçat, and the collection also includes the first literary translation of L'âme en bourgeon; the garland of poems written by Messiaen's mother, Cécile Sauvage, when she was expecting him. The composer described these poems as "the only influence" in his life, making L'âme en bourgeon a fascinating centrepiece to a rich and rewarding collection of essays.

Further information
Illustrations: Includes 9 b&w illustrations and 76 music examples
ISBN: 0 7546 5297 1
Publication Date: June 2007
Number of Pages: 378 pages
RRP: $99.00 / £55.00

More details from Ashgate

Buy the book from Amazon.co.uk

World Premiere of Stations by Ian Wilson

During a recital at the 2007 London Festival of Contemporary Church Music on Friday 18 May 2007, Matthew Schellhorn gave the world premiere of a new work written for him by Irish composer Ian Wilson.

Stations is a fourteen-movement work for solo piano (as of May 2007, half-complete), inspired by the Catholic devotion of the Stations of the Cross – a narrative in fourteen scenes that relates to the events leading from Christ's death sentence to his entombment.

Ian Wilson writes: "The work came from an embryonic idea that I had been considering for some time but which came into sharp focus once pianist Matthew Schellhorn expressed interest in having a new work from me.

"In the past, I have sought on occasion to marry aspects of the Christian faith with universal human experience. Works such as The Seven Last Words (for piano trio), Winter's Edge (for string quartet), and Rich Harbour (a concerto for organ and orchestra) have all sought to distil the emotional content of the ideas behind them and to transpose them onto dramatic musical frameworks that carry the works forward unhindered by dogma or imagery.

"In Stations, I use the devotional sequence of the Stations of the Cross as the structural and emotional basis for a large-scale instrumental work. As well as being obviously related to that idea, I also want to expand the potential 'meaning' of the work so that intimations of programme music or purely impressionistic or pictorial responses will not arise, but rather a strong, unified journey-type piece will result. The intention is to have a multi-movement, seventy-five-minute work that creates its own sense of musical drama as it proceeds."

Stations is divided into four Books. While complete performances of the whole work are the aspiration, each Book is also performable as a separate entity. The cycle will continue in recitals in autumn 2007, and will be completed at the Wigmore Hall in 2008.

New interview with CompositionToday

Matthew Schellhorn talks to David Bruce, composer and founder of new music website, CompositionToday, about his background, his interests, and his plans for the future.

Read the full interview

BBC Music Magazine award

Matthew Schellhorn is featured in the March issue of BBC Music Magazine.

In the article, which features young musicians described as the ‘brightest new stars’, Matthew was recognised as ‘making a name for himself in the music of Olivier Messiaen’.

BBC Music Magazine

World Premiere of Limena by Ian Wilson

Limena was originally written in 1998 for pianist Hugh Tinney and the Irish Chamber Orchestra. It was revised in 2006 for performance with piano and string quartet.



The programme also included Haydn's String Quartet in D, op. 50, no. 6 ('Frog'), Ian Wilson's Verschwindend for piano solo, and Schumann's Piano Quintet in E flat, op. 44.

There was also a pre-concert talk during which Ian Wilson chatted with Matthew Schellhorn about his music.

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