Eminent music critic John von Rhein writes in the Chicago Tribune about James Matheson

Baird Dodge, principal second violin of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, gave the world premiere of American composer James Matheson’s Violin Concerto with the CSO under Esa-Pekka Salonen here in 2011. Yarlung Records has issued an all-Matheson disc anchored by a composite of those live performances, and it’s a winner. The concerto is a supercharged neo-romantic showpiece, two perpetual-motion outer movements surrounding a lyrical chaconne. Brilliantly played by its dedicatee and his orchestral colleagues, the concerto shares disc space with two Matheson chamber works that make the recording well worth checking out. Please enjoy John’s full article in the Tribune. Thank you John!

“James Matheson” reviewed in the WholeNote by Terry Robbins

James Mathesons String Quartet was premiered by the St. Lawrence String Quartet in February 2014 and is played here by the Color Field Quartet. It’s an accessible three-movement work of decided substance, with some excellent instrumental writing and a lot of energy. The leader of the quartet, Baird Dodge, has been principal second violin with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra since 2002, and is the soloist in … Matheson’s Violin Concerto. Matheson and Dodge were roommates at college in the 1990s, and Dodge had harboured the idea of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra commissioning a violin concerto from Matheson ever since joining the orchestra. It finally came to fruition as a co-commission with the Los Angeles Philharmonic when conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen added his support. The recording here is of the concerto’s premiere performance on December 15, 2011, in Chicago with Salonen leading the CSO with Dodge as the soloist. It’s a striking work Continue Reading →

James Matheson on “New Music Box”

BY JAMES MATHESON OCTOBER 19, 2016 Originally Published on NewMusicBox.com If experience is the primary generator of wisdom, it’s unfortunate that wisdom often comes at a high and sometimes painful price. All told, I can recall moving 22 times since I was an undergraduate, with at least another half dozen moves before then. Usually I would throw everything I owned in a car and drive. Eventually I started renting U-Hauls.  The last couple of moves I hired movers, like grown-ups do. Everywhere I went I took my crates of LPs. AC/DC, Zeppelin, Psychedelic Furs, Solti’s complete Ring Cycle with Birgit Nilsson, Dorati’s complete Haydn Symphonies, most of Zappa’s records – and many more. In one of the later moves, my Denon turntable broke. And I now had crates of CDs to drag around, too. Perhaps, dear Reader, you can feel where this tale of too-late wisdom is heading… In 2012 Continue Reading →

Laura Strickling shines in James Matheson’s “Times Alone”

October 20, 2016 Voices from the Heart Mark Estren reviews Yarlung’s new CD “James Matheson” on INFODAD.com: …it is the vocal work, Times Alone, that is most immediately striking. It is a setting, in English, of five surrealist poems from the 1907 collection called Soledades, galerias y otros poemas by Antonio Machado (1875-1939). The emotional progression of the poems is handled particularly adeptly by [soprano] Laura Strickling and [pianist] Thomas Sauer: the first three poems are on the light, even playful side, but the last two become more thoughtful, serious and introspective, and the works’ imagery is well-reflected in Matheson’s nicely proportioned settings. Like the other works here, Times Alone was recorded live in performance…. …Matheson is a highly interesting composer whose work genuinely seeks to reach out to audiences, and this recording is as good an introduction to (or exploration of) the forms in which he works as anyone Continue Reading →

Uwe Krusch reviews James Matheson in “Pizzicato”

Yarlung | Amazon | iTunes | NativeDSD | HD Tracks The original review in German James Matheson: String Quartet, Konzert für Violine und Orchester, Times Alone; Color Field Quartet, Baird Dodge, Violine, Laura Strickling, Sopran, Thomas Sauer, Klavier, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Esa-Pekka Salonen; 1 CD Yarlung 25670; Aufnahmen 12/2011 und 11/2015 (77’59) – Rezension von Uwe Krusch When European orchestras perform in Asia, the audience generally looks forward to hearing European compositions.  When American or Asian orchestras travel to Europe, however, European audiences normally hear only a smattering of American or Asian music on those programs, perhaps an overture or so.  For these reasons, it is rare to hear a concert in Europe made up of music written elsewhere.  Even classics like those written by Leonard Bernstein rarely show up on serious programs, except perhaps for dances from West Side Story.  One feels very fortunate to hear the occasional work by Copland or Adams.  If Continue Reading →

James Matheson Review: Stephen Greenbank, MusicWeb International, United Kingdom

This is my first encounter with the music of James Matheson, an American composer whose music is both colourful and accessible. What better introduction could there be – a concerto, a string quartet and a song-cycle. The recording was sponsored by J and Helen Schlichting of California, who also commissioned the String Quartet. At 18 minutes the Quartet’s opening movement is the most substantial and ambitious. It begins with a swirling coruscation of sound, persistently driven and underpinned by motoric rhythms. There’s a feel of forward momentum and purposeful direction. In the central section, where the music is more relaxed, each instrument is given the opportunity to state its case. Then the energy returns in the form of declamatory sweeps. The slow movement is intensely lyrical, but the emotion is tinged with melancholy and sadness. At one point it reaches a passionate climax. The finale is, as it states on Continue Reading →

Andrew Quint reviews “James Matheson” for The Absolute Sound

Matheson: Violin Concerto, String Quartet, Times Alone. Music, Video and Downloads Yarlung Record’s program produced and financed by the musical philanthropists J and Helen Schlichting of Southern California, is an excellent introduction to the notable American composer James Matheson. Matheson, now in his mid-40s, wrote his Violin Concerto for Baird Dodge, principal second violinist of the Chicago Symphony — and once the composer’s roommate at Swarthmore College. All of Matheson’s music has a bold, cinematic flair. His writing for solo violin is highly idiomatic and virtuosic; the orchestral contribution is extravagantly colorful. Matheson employs an advanced tonal syntax and confidently cites other styles as he makes his argument: the central Chaconne of the Concerto references the slow movement from Mahler’s Sixth Symphony and the energetic finale strongly suggests bluegrass. Esa-Pekka Salonen was on the podium leading the CSO for the world premiere recorded here in December of 2011. Dodge joined Continue Reading →

Yarlung Records files using SonoruS Holographic Imaging

Thank you for your interest in SonoruS Holographic Imaging.[1] Some people say it feels like the sonic equivalent of virtual reality. Friends who have heard demonstrations of SonoruS Holographic Imaging have remarked on a realistic three-dimensional sound stage and have appreciated the natural presence of the musicians and their placement within the acoustics of the concert hall.[2] If you have set up stereo speakers in your room correctly, this format can fill the room with musical information.  The free downloads on this page can help you decide if you like Holographic Imaging and if it works well in your stereo system.  If you don’t like the effect, or if the effect doesn’t work, please choose our regular stereo version of the same music. Please note! Yarlung’s SonoruS Holographic Imaging files do not work on headphones.  Moreover, they only work for one person sitting in the center.  Two people listening side-by-side on Continue Reading →