"Matheson’s concerto is a supercharged showpiece for virtuoso violinist and orchestra that connects with the listener on a visceral as well as intellectual level. It keeps the soloist extremely busy as he negotiates a maze of vivid, colorful orchestral effects that ultimately are the most interesting aspect of the piece. While neo-romantic in overall flavor, Matheson is original enough to shun the feel-good bromides that constitute so much of today’s “new” classical music." -John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune
The story of this recording begins with James Matheson’s Violin Concerto, which he wrote for violinist Baird Dodge and conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen as a commission from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. This album includes the concerto’s premiere performance in Chicago on the evening of December 15th, 2011, with Esa-Pekka Salonen leading the CSO with Baird Dodge as soloist. The album also includes James Matheson's String Quartet, described by Tim Mangan in the Orange County Register as "an impressive piece of work... brimming with ideas" and "beautifully orchestrated... to create one wondrous color after another." Also on this recording are soprano Laura Strickling and pianist Thomas Sauer performing Matheson’s song cycle Times Alone. Our friend the soprano Kiera Duffy commissioned Jim to write Times Alone, which sets five surrealist poems by Antonio Machado from his collection Soledades, galerias y otros poemas published in 1907. Jim set his songs to English translations by the eminent poet Robert Bly.
Composer James Matheson lives in New York. But many cities, Los Angeles among them, claim him for their own. This humble, friendly and informal man, hashing out a compositional hurdle with a student on one day, is the same person on other days who wins Guggenheim and Charles Ives Living Awards and takes curtain calls from the most important stages in concert halls around the world.
- James Matheson, String Quartet
Baird Dodge (violin)
Gina Dibello (violin)
Weijing Wang (viola)
Yi Xin (cello)
- James Matheson, Violin Concerto
Baird Dodge (violin)
Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Esa-Pekka Salonen (conductor)
- James Matheson, Times Alone
Laura Strickling (soprano)
Thomas Sauer (piano)