Matthew Schellhorn


Unbidden Visions (2008)
for tenor, horn and piano | 8'30 | World Premiere 2009
  • SummaryOpen or Close
    Matthew Schellhorn gave the world premiere of Jeremy Thurlow's Unbidden Visions in the 2009 Cambridge Music Festival. This dark, stirring work is a setting of a text by Keats, in which he describes a nightmare he had in 1818.
  • Programme noteOpen or Close
    In March 1818 Keats was haunted by a nightmare. His thoughts and moods were invaded obsessively by sudden visions, in brilliant and unwanted clarity, of the remorselessly savage cycles of the natural world – what Tennyson later called 'Nature, red in tooth and claw'. I chanced across Keats's ruminations on these terrifying and melancholic visions in a strange, rambling verse letter he wrote to his friend J.H. Reynolds, and soon found myself wanting to set them to music.

    Some time later came a request for a new piece for tenor, horn and piano, a combination firmly stamped with the hallmark of Benjamin Britten, and for that reason initially somewhat intimidating to write for. But once I had found the first musical idea, I was able to forget about this and found myself plunging back into Keats' nightmare vision. The piece was written in August 2008, and first performed by John McMunn, Alec Frank-Gemmill and Matthew Schellhorn at the Cambridge Music Festival, November 2009.

    © 2010 Jeremy Thurlow
  • PerformancesOpen or Close
    12 November 2009
    Cambridge Music Festival, UK; with John McMunn (tenor), Alec Frank-Gemmill (horn)
    World Premiere

    23 January 2010
    Holmes Chapel Music Society, UK; with John McMunn (tenor), Alec Frank-Gemmill (horn)

    16 February 2012
    Seaton Music Society, UK; with John McMunn (tenor), Alec Frank-Gemmill (horn)
  • Concert reviewsOpen or Close
    Jeremy Thurlow’s piece for tenor, horn and piano (2008) Unbidden Visions, should have been premiered four years ago here in Seaton, but a singer’s illness prevented that. It is based on nightmares suffered by the poet John Keats. This performance more than made up for past disappointment; as it started with an insistent rising interval which grew into discordant clashes it clearly suggested the conflicts and violence depicted by the original text
    Peter Dawson, Midweek Herald, 22 February 2012
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