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1. If you could be an active composer in any other time period, when and why?
I would love to have been an active composer at the turn of the 20th century. The revolution in ideas and thoughts in the late 1800s and early 1900s is just fascinating. A whole world was changing and it would have been fantastic to be part of it.
2. Dog, cat, or goldfish?
3. Would you rather…Suffer non-stop peeing for the rest of your life or non-stop crying for the rest of your life?
Crying, constant pee would be a real social faux pas.
4. You’re trapped on an island. There is one electrical outlet connected to a boombox from 1992. When you were stranded here you only had time to save one cassette out of collection of singles. What is the one pop song you will listen to for the rest of your life?
Sergeant Pepper Lonely Heart Club's Band- The Beatles
5. Who are 3 composers from the past -AND- 3 of your own generation whose music you respect, enjoy, inspires you, etc…
Past: Igor Stravinsky, Sergei Prokofiev, Edgard Varese
Present: Brian Currant, Marjan Mozetich, Jose Evangelista
Affinity (2013) for string quartet.
This piece has some interesting and unexpected formal twists and turns. Matthew plays with two different types of material, lyrical and rhythmic. On first listen I thought it was simply veering into ABA territory (which it is, more or less) but featured some short juxtapositions at the return of the A material. I cannot say that I enjoyed the rhythmic middle section. I can't really put my finger on it but, I keep coming back to the phrase, "It wasn't enough." Enough of what? Time, energy, faster rhythms, etc. The lyrical sections were the highlights of this piece for me. The sections are rich in tonality and just make the instruments sound good.
Syllabical (2014) for chorus
"Syllabical is an experiment in speech sounds and stasis." - Matthew Tozer, from the program notes
Reading this statement completely set me up for a different listening experience than the one I ended up having. The timbral morphing achieved by altering syllables is incredibly effective. I wish there was more of it at different pitch levels. Maybe the whole piece could have been about this one aspect. At five minutes I think it would have held the audience's attention without the more active parts. The harmonic content is very beautiful. Again, I think Matthew has a very strong command of how to write for whichever instruments or voices he chooses. It just sounds good.