Recital at St John’s Church, Wimbledon

1pm, Friday 9th November 2012.

P. A. Testore Viola. 1780

Diana  Mathews РViola. John Sharp РPiano.

My viola was made in 1780 by Pietro Antonio Testore.


Imogen Holst (1907-1984) Suite for Unaccompanied Viola

Lennox Berkeley (1903-1989) Three Pieces for Solo Viola

Max Reger (1873-1916) Suite for Solo Viola Op.131d No. 1

Roger Carter ‘Deep Thoughts’ for Viola and Piano (World Premiere)

Paul Patterson ‘Tides of Mananan’ for Solo Viola

[audio:|titles=Imogen Holst Suite First Movement. Diana Mathews – viola. 9/11/12]

Imogen Holst Conducting

Imogen Holst entered the Royal College of Music in London in 1926. She studied composition with George Dyson and Gordon Jacob and harmony and Counterpoint with Vaughan Williams. This suite was written in 1930, just at the end of her time at the RCM. Violet Brough (violist in the Mcnaghten String Quartet) gave the first performance in December 1931 at the Ballet Club Theatre in London.

[audio:|titles=Imogen Holst Suite Second Movement. Diana Mathews – Viola. 9/11/12]

Lennox Berkeley

[audio:|titles=Lennox Berkeley Three Pieces for Solo Viola Second Piece. Diana Mathews – Viola. 9/11/12]

Lennox Berkeley’s Three Pieces for Solo Viola only came to light in 2004 when it was found in a second hand bookshop in Camden Town. On the autograph manuscript is written ‘To Stephan Deak. With all good wishes, Lennox Berkeley’.

Deak was a Hungarian viola player who survived the Nazi concentration camp Dachau. After some time spent in South Africa, Deak moved to Britain where he joined the Philharmonia Orchestra.

[audio:|titles=Lennox Berkeley Three Pieces for Solo Viola Third Piece. Diana Mathews – Viola. 9/11/12] [audio:|titles=Max Reger Suite No. 1 First Movement. Diana Mathews – Viola. 9/11/12]

Max Reger

Max Reger, the German composer, pianist, organist, conductor and academic, wrote his three Suites for solo viola in 1915, the year before he died. Born in 1973, he died of a heart attack aged 43. He was a prolific composer writing in nearly all genres except the symphony and opera.

[audio:|titles=Max Reger Suite No. 1 Second Movement. Diana Mathews – Viola. 9/11/12] [audio:|titles=Max Reger Suite No. 1 Third Movement. Diana Mathews – Viola. 9/11/12] [audio:|titles=Max Reger Suite No. 1 Fourth Movement. Diana Mathews – Viola. 9/11/12]

Roger Carter

Roger Carter’s ‘Deep Thoughts’ was written for me this year. It is in three movements:

i) Titanic…but if; ii) Homage a Berlioz; iii) Jubilee Line.

It is in cyclic form and it is programmatic. In the composer’s words:

i) ‘Titanic relies on the documentaries on TV this year, where endless debates are represented by the viola, deep in thought, as to what might have been, while the piano ploughs relentlessly along the side of the iceberg. Unlike the expanded drama of the films though, this ship sinks quickly, leaving the piano to question “but…if…” on the last two notes. The scordatura requires two violas; the lowest string is tuned down to B on one, the deeper the thought, the horror of the disaster to the deeps.

ii) Deep thoughts of Berlioz, himself no connection to 2012, owes much to the viola in style, emotion and social significance. Especially note the heroic bass theme, echoed by the viola. The 9/8 time signature and the thrashing teutonic triads epitomize the late romantic feelings of the period of Paganini and large forces.

iii) The rumblings of the underground give the piano the train and the viola the driver, whilst you, the listeners, are in the station. “Rule Britannia” sings the driver as the music gathers strength for that burst of sound into the station. The rattle of the wheels, even on the Jubilee line, on the rails of this year’s fortunes in the UK, leave a lasting drive in the memory to destiny.

Paul Patterson

Paul Patterson’s ‘Tides of Mananan’ was composed for the 1988 Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition. Patterson wrote, ‘The Gaelic name of Mananan Mac Lir means Mananan, son of the sea. He was a great hero in Irish mythology and his magical powers are also well known in Manx folklore. He had power over the sea, understood tides and could foretell storms. Manx fishermen would call for his blessing before they sailed. He used his magic art to protect the island against its enemies by drawing his cloak of mist over it. Mananan was also known as a ferocious giant and a warrior of incredible strength and violent temper.’

[audio:|titles=Paul Patterson Tides of Mananan. Diana Mathews – viola. 9/11/12]