Matthew Barley

FRANK CLIFF Norwich Arts Centre


Norwich Arts Centre

This superb cellist breaks the mould of the solo recital with a repertoire that mixes classical and non- classical, together with electronics and improvisation.

He began with an improvisation on three themes: a Syrian Orthodox chant, a Gregorian chant and a Syrian folk song in which he created hauntingly beautiful music to the accompaniment of an electronic pedal bass.

The virtuoso repertoire which followed demonstrated the breadth of his technique and style.

First, two works of the baroque: a Ricercar by Domico Gabrieli and Bach's third suite for solo cello. Both were played with superb period style. Then, the first movement of Kodaly's fiery solo sonata with its origins in Hungarian folk music, and a master-ful account of Britten's Third Cello Suite, based on Russian folk tunes.

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With the last two works we entered the electronic age. In John Metcalfe's contemplative Constant Filter the cello plays a slow lament with subtle electronic accompaniment; in Final Tracks, with less subtle electronics by D J Bee, the cello reminisces on the themes of the opening work.

In all this varied music, Barley reached right to the heart of every work he performed.