Friday, February 4, 2011

Denis Matthews in Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven

The British pianist and musicologist Denis Matthews (1919-1988) was most closely associated with the music of the great Viennese Classical masters, especially Mozart and Beethoven.  Perhaps his most famous recording is that of the Beethoven Horn Sonata, made in 1944 with Dennis Brain, both Den(n)ises being in R.A.F. uniform at the session; this has been reissued on a Testament CD along with an equally fine Beethoven Clarinet Trio featuring Matthews, Reginald Kell and Anthony Pini.  But I present here a trio of single 78-rpm records, each featuring a solo piano work by a member of the First Viennese School:

Haydn: Sonata in E, Hob.XVI:31
Recorded April 25, 1949
English Columbia DX 1655, one 78-rpm record

Mozart: Fantasia and Fugue in C, K. 394
Recorded September 16, 1942
English Columbia DX 1095, one 78-rpm record

Beethoven: Rondo in G, Op. 51, No. 2
Recorded April 25, 1949
English Columbia DX 1595, one 78-rpm record

All played by Denis Matthews, pianist
Link (FLAC files, 65.28 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 28.78 MB)

Denis Matthews, along with Myra Hess, Louis Kentner and Frank Merrick, made pioneering recordings of the piano music of John Field.  Last summer, just before starting this blog, I transferred his record of two John Field nocturnes; this is still available, and I have just added FLAC files as well:

John Field: Nocturne in E minor and "Midi" Rondo in E
Denis Matthews, pianist
Recorded June 22, 1945
Columbia 72525-D, one 78-rpm record
Link (FLAC files, 20.18 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 8.23 MB)

At the same time I made available a "John Field Suite" orchestrated by Sir Hamilton Harty, one of whose movements is the same "Midi" Rondo that Matthews recorded.  This is also still available, as are new FLAC files:

Harty: A John Field Suite and
Elgar: Serious Doll (from "Nursery Suite")
Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Malcolm Sargent
Recorded March 15 and May 7, 1943
English Columbia DX 1118-20, three 78-rpm records
Link (FLAC files, 54.25 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 22.89 MB)


  1. Wonderful, thanks - I've always wanted to hear more of Matthews! Enjoying the Mozart now. Best wishes, Nick

  2. Perfect - many thanks! Is there achance you’d consider to upload of Matthews’ recording of Brahms’ op. 24 (Columbia CAX 10499-504)?
    My best, M.

  3. Never having played them did consider a couple of his Columbia LP's.
    33S 1039 - Mozart PC.23 (trod on a new set of the 78 version!) + one of the Beethoven sonata's LP (33SX 1023).
    Still retain a new set of Mozart: K.310 sonata (DX 1114/5) and Louis Kentner's Field sonata disc (DX 1129 - your/my Matthews being DX1228).
    So - no idea whether he was 'any good' (the contemporary reviews in 'EMG' weren't at all enthusiastic..).

  4. Nick - glad you enjoyed it!

    Malatesta - I'm sorry, I don't have the Brahms and I don't even think it was actually issued.

    Tin Ear - I once had that K310 sonata myself but never a Mozart p.c. or Beethoven sonata. But everything of his I've ever heard, I've enjoyed.

  5. Just to add my thanks and to wish you all a Happy New year! This was certainly sensitive & charming classical pianism, the solo pieces especially attractive. It's just a shame it's taken me so long to get round to hearing them!! Thanks again