Dance First

Michael Matthews Concert

Our first concert of the new season was given by a brilliant guitarist of the new generation of performers – Michael Matthews. Michael was born in the UK but was raised in France, South America and Africa. He had his first classical guitar lessons in France at the age of seven. Michael graduated from the University of Hull with First Class Honours Degree in 2016 and now lives in Lincoln

He began his recital with Dowland’s Lachrimae Pavan and Fantasia which was played with great feeling and compassion. This was followed by a smoothly executed rendition of Turina’s Sonata, but there were some aggressive flamenco passages and enviable rasgueados when required. The first half of the concert finished with the Nocturnal after John Dowland Op 70 which Benjamin Britten wrote for Julian Bream. This is based on Dowland’s Come Heavy Sleep and consists of eight different passages of sleep each movement a variation progressing closer towards Dowland’s song which finishes the piece.

The second half began with Brouwer’s Cuban Landscape with Bells. This was played again with great precision and speed with the fingerboard being tapped by the right hand - a technique some rock guitarists have been seen to use. All the harmonics rang out loud and true. Michael certainly knows how to get the best from his Angel Benito Aguado guitar. We then heard all five of Villa Lobos’s Preludes This was surely a definitive performance of all five preludes from which the audience learnt much. The final piece of the formal concert was Serenades of the Unicorn by the Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara. This was a new piece to many of the audience. It sounded crazy music to start with, but with Michael’s convincing performance it quite quickly became a firm favourite.

The enthusiastic applauding audience were rewarded with an encore of some more Dowland. Let us hope it will not be too long before Michael returns.

Terry Woodgate


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