Recorded without audience on Sunday May 9, 2021 @ BBC Hoddinott Hall, Cardiff

Broadcast on BBC Radio 3 from 2 p.m. on Monday July 19

This studio concert, Martyn Brabbins conducting the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, included music by Cyril Scott (Tom Poster the pianist in Early One Morning) and Malcolm Arnold. It was the Malcolm Arnold Trust that commissioned Matthew Taylor’s Sixth Symphony, scored for “classical forces” with a “spotlight” on harp and piano, advises the composer (shades of Stravinsky’s Symphony in Three Movements).

The dark opening includes a sinewy and seminal clarinet solo (Sibelius 1). There follows intense and anguished string writing, then flecks of animation, light and airy if suspenseful, developing a compelling musical argument. Brief climax aside, introspection and solo lines inform the second movement (part of a continuous design), followed by a Scherzo-like movement that turns out to be an exhilarating Finale, owing more to Robert Simpson than Malcolm Arnold, with the latter’s inimitable self best represented by his Concerto for 28 Players (Opus 105), given a dazzling and shapely outing, as was Taylor 6 (I wonder if Matthew was present or linked through Zoom), which is an intriguing piece to return to.

BTW, on June 10, Martyn conducted an impressive live BBC Philharmonic account of Simpson’s Second Symphony with its ingenious palindromic final movement: I was in hospital so couldn’t write any words, and sadly it can’t be listened to now, but do keep a lookout for it.

Taylor 6 premiere filmed:

Kenneth Woods records Matthew Taylor’s Fourth & Fifth Symphonies for Nimbus Alliance.

RELEASED TODAY, April 2: For Robert Simpson’s centenary on March 2, Lyrita has released his Fifth & Sixth Symphonies in their premiere performances.