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Film / Media > Press / Quotes

Press / Quotes

David Matthews
"His music is freely tonal, which means that his symphonies take from the structure of the great romantics, but his language moves in and out of standard tonality where the mood suits him… If one is to apply a label to Matthews, it must be that the man is a new sort of romantic; but I'll be swizzled if I know what kind. I can't stop playing this.”
- American Record Guide, Sept/Oct 2009
(re: Symphonies 1, 3, and 5 on Dutton Vocalion CD)

"Matthews is one of the nation's most valuable assets. His music is lyrical and approachable yet quirky and unpredictable. Firmly rooted in both Classical and Romantic traditions - Beethoven and Mahler are particular enthusiasms - it is enriched by the culture from which it springs."
- Barry Millington, Evening Standard, London, November 2003

"(Matthews is) a very modern kind of romantic, passionately personal in his expressions…"
- Stephen Johnson, The Independent, London

Norman Worrall
Becoming Emily film:
“Beautifully photographed, this potent and revealing biography blends dramatic reconstruction of significant events, with readings of intimate letters and much of her poetry, to produce a rich and ultimately very moving account of the poet's life."
- Don Fairservice, Film Editor

"I've just watched this wonderful portrait of Emily Dickinson. She's a poet I have always struggled with, but this dvd provides a biographical context that make those brief enigmatic lines become full of meanings and feeling. You get a real sense of her uneventful, rather closeted, but intensely experienced life."
- Martin Kemp, Psychotherapist

Jean Hasse
Pocket Pieces for piano:
“Hasse has a real knack for creating great music out of the everyday things in life. Perhaps her extensive experience as a film composer specializing in scores for silent films has sharpened her ability to see musical possibilities in even the most commonplace things (like scrambled eggs in Book II). These musical essays are nearly perfect embodiments of their sometimes-bizarre titles. ...
In reading through the music, distinct personalities emerge. They are as diverse as the titles suggest: they are thoughtful, outgoing, lyrical, dissonant, funny, calm, wry, cheerful, and somber.
These are finely honed, evocative musical essays. Throughout the three books, Hasse writes with fresh honesty and purposeful clarity, making imaginative and expert musical sense of her ideas - and there are many ideas here to discover (there are sixty-one pieces in all). But the brevity of the pieces makes their number quite practical for study and performance. ...
In sum, this series of piano solos contains highly inventive, creative works that are well worth exploring, performing, and teaching. Professional pianists and students of all ages will find great satisfaction in studying and performing these pieces."
- Peggy Otwell, Clavier Companion, May/June 2010

"Melodrama’s natural home is the cinema, and the premiere of Jean Hasse’s The Fall of the House of Usher made the connection explicit, Hasse’s music serving as the soundtrack for an extraordinary 1928 film of Poe’s story. Hasse wasn’t afraid to sound, precisely, like a silent movie score, with the piano providing the sound of falling rain or clanging bells, but there was clearly an original musical colourist at work."
- Nick Kimberley, London Evening Standard, March 2010

Comments on Faust, silent film + live music (2007):

“I’m overjoyed to have seen Faust. The music is so very clever! Not to mention that I’m in love with the film.”
“Brilliant, beautiful and simply wonderful. What a powerful creation.”
 “I think it is the best score for a silent film I have heard. The whole score is rare in that it’s a proper accompaniment to a movie and really enhances it. The music is integrated totally.”
“(There is) a sort of medieval music feeling which is right, it is atmospheric. The music made up completely for the absence of dialogue in the film.”
 “I was so impressed by the music on many levels: The variety of compositional technique, the sensitivity to changing scenes and emotion, the rich instrumentation, the deft and effective use of onomatopoeia, naturalistic sounds, voices, etc., the sustained concentration in the composition and in the performers, really impressive for amateurs, especially!”

(Hasse's music is) rhythmic but hypnotic, including, for instance, lots of open fourths, tone clusters, wide space between clear, intertwining lines, lots of long, echoey pedalling, and a beautiful use of silence which in kinkh is used every bit as rhythmically as the notes."
- Jessica Duchen, BBC Music Magazine, March 2000

"The music's lucidity, combined with the range of its references (which often include jazz), its improvisatory flair and its sheer quirkiness, make it a source of continual surprise."
- Christopher Ballantine, International Record Review, June 2000

"Jean is articulating that space in our souls between language and music that is so elusive."
- John Williams, composer/conductor

"She chooses good notes."
- Seiji Ozawa, conductor, after hearing a performance of Silk Water, played by pianist Leon Fleisher

"(Hasse's) dedicated mobile (phone) music - abstract compositions rather than a Casio version of the Mission: Impossible theme tune - could make life more bearable and even create a micro-genre."
- Financial Times, 30/31 March 2002, The Business magazine

"I've never witnessed anything like it before. It was like being on a rocket and visiting stars in the universe, each star as small as it looks from here on earth, yet each star complete, a powerfully complete thing, place, atmosphere, motion and life."
- Carolyn Chute, novelist, after hearing a performance of many of the Pocket Pieces for piano (1998)


Jac van Steen and David
at recording session of his Symphony No. 6

CD with David's
String Quartets 4, 6, 10
and Adagio
(Toccata Classics label)

Jean's Faust rehearsal at the London Barbican's Cinema 1

Jean with John Williams,
in Boston

Jean with Ornette Coleman,
in London