Reviews & Testimonials
On the music of Douglas Weiland
"What an amazing music! It gets to the guts before you understand what happens, and then when you do it just gets stronger. I have very rarely heard contemporary music that is so genuinely personal and original, expressive and so convincingly romantic, without a milligram of trying to please or help the listener. For me there is something Bartokian here, in the purity, force and the captivating effect."
Head of the Centre for Creative Performance and Classical Improvisation at the London Guildhall School of Music
Professor at the Yehudi Menuhin School
“This music is wholly derived from its inspirations and yet wholly itself:”
Stephanie Ann Boyd
Composer & Music Critic
American Record Guide. November 2020
String Quartets Nos. 4 & 5
Melbourne Quartet / Naxos CD Release April 2020
"No other musical genre has remained as alive over the past 250 years as the string quartet.
Despite a strict aesthetic that demands compositional experience, creative earnestness, ongoing originality and a close relationship to its own history, it has survived every epoch and every change of style without danger.
One could even say: precisely because the string quartet, in its intimacy and tonal unity, represents the "nakedness of musical art" (C.M. von Weber) and throws the composer back to the inner forces of musical composition. It is always about the whole.
This is also the case with the two string quartets No. 4 op. 50 (2011) and No. 5 op. 51 (2012) by the English composer Douglas Weiland (born 1954). Unknown in the concert hall and on CD in this country, his two works, now already ten years old, surprise with their detailed knowledge of the repertoire and their original penetration. Above all, Weiland's two quartets are inspired by Bartók - clearly recognisable in the diastematic nature of the motifs, the open texture and the exquisitely consistent harmony. In addition, Weiland refers back to Joseph Haydn in thought - not through mere quotations, but in the discourse of the material. This is already true for the beginning of the 5th quartet, which is torn subdominantly into the depths within a few notes and opens the movement. Similarly, the slow movement takes Haydn op. 20/5 as its point of departure, but quickly drifts into completely different areas. In any case, the calculated "drifting" of the movement appears as a wonderfully gratifying intellectual game, which retains its charm even after repeated listening. The brilliantly performing and acoustically first-rate Melbourne Quartet (chamber-musically direct, warm and balanced) had prepared perfectly for the production; it also arranged the astonishingly late premiere of both works in autumn 2018 only a few weeks earlier. A CD that unexpectedly becomes a highlight."
©HörBar Neue Musikzeitung
[English translation: Dr Hermann Mellinghoff]
Douglas WEILAND (b. 1954)
String Quartet No. 5, Op. 51 (2012) [24:20]
String Quartet No. 4, Op. 50 (2011) [37:49]
rec. 2018, Iwaki Auditorium, Melbourne, Australia
NAXOS 8.574028 [62:13]
"Both these quartets are magnificent and quite merit the authoritative performances and sublime recording."
"As far as I can establish, this is the first ever commercially released disc devoted to the music of Malvern-born Douglas Weiland, despite his fulsome description in the booklet as “having long been acclaimed as a master of the quartet medium” and his identification as “Sir Neville Marriner’s most commissioned composer….” He has clearly been fortunate throughout his career to have enjoyed the fervent support of the Australian violinist William Hennessy who compiled this introduction. Hennessy is the leader of the Melbourne Quartet who perform these works here; he is clearly an energetic and discerning advocate for new music of high quality.
The descending theme which opens the fifth quartet exudes good taste and elegance and as this first movement (basically an Allegro) proceeds any residual concerns about hyperbole in Hennessy’s notes rapidly evaporate, to the point that one can only wonder why it has taken so long for Weiland’s music to be put on disc. It is supple, beautifully paced, imaginatively coloured and most democratically laid out for the instruments – it must be both invigorating and grateful to play. As Hennessy implies, so fastidious is its conception that one marvels at the seamless integration and variance of this initial idea as the panel develops. The extended Siciliana which follows derives its essence from the parallel slow movement in Haydn’s F minor quartet Op 20 No 5. The gentle dissonances at its outset are mildly spiced, piquant rather than grating, and yield to music which alternates lightness with understated intensity. The movement radiates music of rare depth and considerable emotional ambiguity. Apart from its Haydnesque soul, I found the Melbourne Quartet’s trilling violins evoked Corelli more than once. The animated little passage before the rapt chorale-like coda is a quiet delight. A Bartókian flourish kicks off the finale. This introduction seems to pose some profound questions and duly (at 1:30) yields to the swiftest music in the quartet, a tour-de-force of colour and effects tastefully woven into an intricately designed fabric. Hints of fugue emerge and melt into music whose richness never approaches stodge. Weiland manages to navigate this fine vehicle for the quartet medium back to the affirmative B flat major with which it began with an inevitability which quite belies the scenic route it has travelled.
Weiland’s fifth quartet followed hot on the heels of its predecessor, a fourth attempt at the form whose five movement arch-like five structure Hennessy compares to Bartók’s fifth quartet, although he qualifies this by proposing that Schubert seems to have been more in the composer’s mind during the composition of its central movement, which incorporates a big Scherzo and Trio. Weiland’s own publisher thought sufficiently highly of this fourth quartet that he nominated it for consideration for the 2014 Grawemeyer Award. In architectural terms the odd-numbered movements are meaty essays which each extend to nine minutes, while their evennumbered counterparts are briefer, gentler affairs which offer one an opportunity to take stock. A deceptively insouciant descending figure again starts proceedings. The repeated notes underneath the melody certainly do suggest Schubert, but after this hovering, questioning introduction the movement explodes into action in a more astringent, acerbic rapid section which scurries hither and thither making measured references to the original motif, a strategy which provides the listener with a familiar waypoint. Momentum is the order of the day in much of Weiland’s quartet writing but propulsive as the movement is in general, loud energetic episodes are leavened by the alternation of lighter, less edgy passages. Weiland’s mastery of the quartet form is self-evident in this finely crafted panel. Eerie tremolandi punctuate the atmosphere of the Misterioso second movement which veers between Bartókian nachtmusik and something warmer and of a more classical hue. At 3 55 an intense climax is short-lived and leads to a conclusion which is understated and rather melancholy. There are deft nocturnal twitchings in its final moments.
But it’s the central Scherzo Germanesque which is clearly the emotional and structural hub of this work; its elegant opening bars presage an exciting span of fastidious craftsmanship and memorable material. Weiland’s rhythmic shifts occasionally stray into Brittenish territory, but there’s so much going on in this movement –texturally, contrapuntally and melodically that one is left in no doubt that Weiland is very much his own man. The brief pizzicato passage from 8:08 is delicious. There is a singular voice at work here, one I would certainly identify as English, though. In the brief Intermezzo-Pastorale which follows, the additional marking Grazioso, appassionata characterises the measured intensity of its material to a tee. The Allegro molto finale’s urgent skittering introduction unfolds into another big swathe of contrasting ideas and kaleidoscopic detail that really requires more than the two listens I have afforded it to date. Its abrupt changes of pace and mood are realised magnificently by these seasoned Aussie players and positively demand repeated hearing. The conclusion of the piece is as unusual as it is effective – I won’t spoil it for prospective listeners. One knows the music is good when the listener hears more, much more at the second time of asking. I was astonished to find the work lasts almost 40 minutes – it flies by.
The Melbourne Quartet absolutely inhabit each of these big, serious works. There is never any sense of indifference or ‘play-through’; every nuance, texture, colour and beat cuts through with clarity and style. On this evidence one cannot help but wonder why Weiland’s profile on disc is non-existent. I do not know anything about him, save for the brief details provided on his website, but to my ears his is music of palpable humanity and profound vision. Although his language is very different, the integrity and craftsmanship that pours forth from these quartets recall the seriousness of purpose and classical stylings of Robert Simpson, who as far as I’m concerned remains (by some margin) the finest composer of string quartets these islands have yet produced. I have little doubt that admirers of his magnificent cycle will respond just as readily to Douglas Weiland’s quartets.
The Naxos sound constitutes one of the most natural, generous and sympathetic quartet recordings I have yet encountered on the label. Hats off to the engineers who have harnessed the impressive acoustic of Melbourne’s Iwaki Auditorium most effectively; music and playing of this quality merit nothing less. I certainly hope Naxos will record more, much more of Douglas Weiland’s music. The other three (to date) quartets would constitute an apt follow-up. Meanwhile lovers of fine English chamber music should snap this up without delay."
©MusicWeb International UK
WEILAND: Quartets 4+5 Melbourne Quartet
Naxos 574028—62 minutes
"Douglas Weiland composed these quartets in 2011 and 2012, each piece comprising mechanisms, form, symmetry, harmonic movement whose origins can be traced back to the founding fathers of the string quartet. Take the first movement of Quartet 5: the beginning phrase is Haydnesque in the most delightful of ways before the music splinters off onto a wildly unexpected harmonic progression. Quartet 4 feels familiar in a way that music written by a Shostakovich or a Bartok from a parallel universe would. This music is wholly derived from its inspirations and yet wholly itself: Weiland’s language is constructed of preconceived syllables that are put together in patterns you haven’t heard before. Convention and the technicalities of form are only followed until he suddenly veers sideways into a completely separate set of textural and timbral spaces. In his composing, he is constantly turning the kaleidoscope. Gorgeously played by the Melbourne Quartet, these recordings are ones you’re going to want to spend some time with."
Stephanie Ann Boyd
©American Record Guide
WEILAND String Quartets Nos. 4 and 5 • Melbourne Quartet • NAXOS 8.574028 (62:13)
"These two highly compelling new string quartets (they were completed in 2011 and 2012, respectively), here given their world premiere recordings, are excellent examples of a contemporary composer employing traditional architecture, but infusing his voice with modern language and emotional impact. Douglas Weiland is a British composer, born in 1954. This is his only recording currently in the catalogue, but although he is not very well known in America, he was, according to his brief bio, Neville Marriner’s most commissioned composer. In addition to his chamber music output, he has written a number of orchestral works, including several concertos and, in 2019, a Requiem.
In the notes for this release, penned by William Hennessy, Weiland is described as a neo-classicist, and I would agree with this assessment in general terms. The structure, grace, and wit of Haydn is certainly present, as well as the gentle lyricism of Schubert. But I was surprised that the influence of Shostakovich, himself a neo-classicist for most of his magnificent string quartet output, was not mentioned as well, as it is apparent to my ears. The kinship is heard in the dark undertones, expressed in a mournful voice in several places, but also in the deeply expressive slow music. Of course these qualities can be attributed to Haydn and Schubert as well, but the careful use of dissonance and contrasting dynamics adds a contemporary sensibility.
This pair of quartets affords highly rewarding listening. There is real strength and beauty here, as well as exquisite craft. They hold well up to repeated auditions, which would not be the case were it not for the magnificent playing of the Melbourne Quartet. This is a must hear for lovers of the string quartet format, not to mention music lovers in general."
This article originally appeared in Issue 44:3 Jan/Feb 2021 of Fanfare Magazine©
WEILAND D. Quartets 4 & 5.
"British composer Weiland has long been acclaimed as one of contemporary music’s most outstanding composers for the string quartet medium, and his evolving cycle has won much admiration. Composed between 2011 and 2012 the Fourth and Fifth Quartets show him at the height of his artistic powers, where he seeks connections across time, and shows a Classical commitment to form, invention and melodic beauty. His conceptions can be Schubertian in scale and scope, while also displaying the influence of Haydn and Bartók."
“It (is) easy to understand why Weiland is considered one of today's finest composers in this medium.”
©Classical Lost and Found
WEILAND String Quartets Nos. 4 and 5 • Melbourne Quartet • NAXOS 8.574028 (62:13)
"ASQ [Australian Quartet] founder’s quartets offer a delightful chamber music discovery."
"Weiland’s music is rigorous, skilful, taut in counterpoint, clean in texture, mellifluous, tonal but not in a dated or restrictive way, and structurally traditional. You might call it the relaxed version of Modernism. These pieces, from 2011 and 2012 respectively, were composed for William Hennessy, first violin of the Melbourne Quartet and former leader of the ASQ. The performances could not be bettered, and the recording is perfectly balanced."
©Limelight Magazine, Sydney
* * *
“Certainly different, but the result I greatly enjoyed. World Premiere Recordings and dedicated performances coming from the Melbourne Quartet.”
©David’s Review Corner
Weiland: String Quartets Nos. 4 & 5 / Melbourne Quartet / NAXOS 8.574028
“On a par with Robert Simpson.”
“Excellent quartets, extremely well played. Very contemporary but very listenable and with echoes of Haydn, Bartok, even Corelli and a little bit of Britten. This makes them sound like duplications; they aren't, they are of their own idiom. I shall be looking for more from this combination.”
©Amazon.co.uk: Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 30 November 2020
String Quartets – a most Intimate Medium: A listener’s Guide to the Genre from 1800
British composer Douglas Weiland born 1954: An Air of Mystery
“The work [Fifth Quartet] is characterised by the juxtaposition of Romantic and Modernist melodic lines, which leads to its mysterious nature.”
“The constant switch from the tonal to the atonal is very satisfying… brings about an almost Mozart feeling, if it were not for the atonal note selection.”
Perth, Western Australia
Selected Reviews 1986 -
"[Hennessy's] comments about Weiland made me go looking through my library for the Melbourne Quartet’s recording of the fourth and fifth quartets – a truly rewarding listen for anyone who wants to discover more about this composer’s important music. He is someone who is completely in touch with the traditions of the genre from Haydn, Beethoven through the Romantics to Bartók and Shostakovich, yet still finds plenty to say that is relevant to today."
"Throughout my professional life I have struggled with a musician's sense of moral duty to champion contemporary music and living composers. The struggle lay in reconciling that sense of obligation with the demands of artistic integrity - that we as artists must provide the audience with stories worth listening to. That struggle ceased in 2017 when I was introduced to the music of Douglas Weiland.
The reality is that composers who possess a unique voice and have urgently important things to say, are a rarity. The excitement I felt when I discovered Weiland's music was twofold. Firstly, there was an artistic delight that music is still being written that speaks to the human soul. Secondly, it meant that I could now confidently attempt to fulfill my obligations to my art, having no doubt that this is music that needs to be heard."
First Quartet Op. 5 (1986/7)
Written Adelaide 1986 (commissioned by ASQ through the Australia Council)
"A brilliant work, written by (a composer) who knows his quartet medium backwards."
"In the third movement, Arkaroola, Weiland proves that willing adoption, even if less than two years’ standing, is every bit as solid a ground as birth for accurate assessment of the physical characteristics of a country."
The Australian, 23nd Nov. '87
Pianist, critic and teacher Michael Brimer was Ormond Professor of Music – University of Melbourne (1980 – 88)
(Douglas Weiland lived in Australia from 1985 – 1990)
"Weiland’s First Quartet stood proudly alongside the music of Mozart and Dvorak."
The Herald, Melbourne
Voice Quintet Op. 4 (1984/5)
Australian Quartet Debut Recital at the 1986 Adelaide International Festival
"Intellectually rigorous – an excellent piece of music.
The work was a huge success."
Musical America, New Jersey
Fourth Quartet Op. 50 (2011)
World Premiere: 5th November 2012
Australian National Academy of Music
William Hennessy, Francesca Hiew, Fiona Sargeant, Michael Dahlenburg
Nomination for the 2014 Grawemeyer Award:
Dear Grawemeyer Music Award Committee
I am nominating Fourth Quartet Op. 50 by Douglas Gordon Weiland for the Grawemeyer Award 2014 in my capacity as Director and General Editor of Fountayne Editions, London and as the publisher of this work. I feel very privileged to be its publisher: it is of a quality and importance of which any publisher would be proud.
I have followed the music of Douglas Weiland for many years and can confidently predict it will find its place when the history of late 20th century and 21st century music is written. This work is one of a number of masterpieces written in the last ten years, culminating in the Clarinet Concerto and the Fourth and Fifth Quartets.
Douglas Weiland is one of those composers who never write the same or similar pieces over and over again: each of his creations is utterly unique. This can be quite disconcerting at times as one’s expectations are frequently confounded. This happened to the Altenberg Trio of Vienna, who had played Weiland’s First Piano Trio many times and loved it so much they commissioned the Second Piano Trio. When it arrived they were very nonplussed because it was completely different from what they had expected. They grew to love it just as much!
Weiland’s music does not shirk any of the challenges facing a composer at this point in music history. It neither retreats into simplistic minimalism nor into complex obscurity but meets head on the challenge of writing deeply emotional but rigorously discursive music. The Fourth Quartet Op. 50 is a large-scale structure of great power and beauty. It lights the way into the future – a future where Beethoven, Bartok, Boulez, Carter and others have been fully digested.
His harmonic language is also trail-blazing. With Weiland the perceived polarities of tonal/atonal music are synthesized in quite a new way. For Weiland there is no discredit in tonality, and tonal elements rub shoulders with, at times, a quite acerbic atonality, which deepens the emotional power of the music. This offers the serious prospect of building a new tradition where atonality and tonality live in a different but natural balance and where the composer’s imagination is free once again to embrace centuries (past and future) in addition to their particular moment in time.
Director and General Editor: Fountayne Editions Music Publisher
London, 8 January 2013
Clarinet Concerto Op. 30 (2002)
World Premiere: 19th November 2009
Melbourne Recital Centre – Australia
Melbourne Chamber Orchestra
Conductor: Neville Marriner
Soloist: Andrew Marriner
"When, early this century, we commissioned Douglas Weiland to write a concerto for the clarinet, I was already familiar with his work. The fact that it turned out to be a masterpiece for the instrument was an unsurprising joy and we knew that Douglas had added a significant major opus to the clarinet repertoire."
Life President: Academy of St Martin in the Fields
London, 7th January 2010
"How privileged I was to give the first performance of Douglas Weiland’s concerto; it is written in a musical language that is immediately intelligible and appealing; yet it is a unique compositional style that sings through his work, an extraordinary insight into the vocal potential of the clarinet. Audacious in scale, it is an emotionally fulfilling work to play. This piece deserves wide recognition as a serious addition to the small number of major works written for the clarinet."
Andrew MarrinerPrincipal Clarinet: London Symphony Orchestra
London, January 2010
"The Weiland Clarinet Concerto is a major work of classical daring. The composer makes full commitment to the ear, the heart, the intellect, the imagination, and the highest musical ideals.
Douglas Weiland has created a twenty-first century masterpiece, a magnificent successor to the clarinet concertos of Mozart and Nielsen"
Leader: Melbourne Quartet
Soloist, Artistic Director: Melbourne Chamber Orchestra
Founder Leader: Australian Quartet (ASQ)
Melbourne, January 2010
"Upon hearing the Weiland Clarinet Concerto for the first time I was left with a strong sense of being in the presence of something remarkable, and with subsequent hearings was able to marvel more and more at the subtlety and inventiveness of his craft, especially through the originality and treatment of the thematic ideas and his artful use of texture and rhythm. The work clearly and unashamedly bases itself on tried and tested ideals from previous periods, especially in relation to form and structure, and yet retains a distinctive contemporary voice."
Winthrop Professor and Director of Strings
University of Western Australia
Perth, February 2010
"This is just a masterpiece. It has all the vigour, vitality, warmth and depth that one has become used to encounter in the greatest creations of our ‘classics’"
Founder: Altenberg Trio Wien
Artistic Director: International Brahms Festival Muerzzuschlag Austria
Vienna, February 2010
"This Concerto is idiomatically conceived and superbly executed. It manages to acknowledge its heritage in the great traditions of English music and to display an energy and originality that are fresh and communicative. It is an important and valuable contribution to the literature for Clarinet and, with the inspired advocacy of Mr Marriner, is destined to find its place in the repertoire in years to come."
(Boosey) Composer & Conductor
"If I were asked to identify a piece of music that seems to encompass the very nature of God, I would put two samples at the top of the list. The first would be the ‘Wahrlich, dieser ist Gottes Sohn gewesen’ from the Matthäus-Passion. The second would be a passage from Douglas Weiland’s Clarinet Concerto."
(Yale) Composer & Organist
"For someone brought up to appreciate the English music of Elgar and Vaughan-Williams, as I was, it is a relief as well as a delight to hear a composer carrying forward that great tradition, while adding to it an intensely personal and original voice which is all his own. Underlying every bar he writes is a natural feeling for beauty of sound and an expressive warmth. In addition to the technical skill with which he writes for the solo clarinet, there is his gift for orchestration, which gives all the accompanying instruments an opportunity to make their own meaningful contributions.
There can surely be no doubt that in writing this beautiful Concerto, Douglas Weiland has given Clarinet soloists a major addition to their repertoire, demanding to prepare, but a joy to perform."
Principal Oboe: English Chamber Orchestra, Academy of St Martin-in-the-fields, London Philharmonic Orchestra
London, August 2010
"I was immediately struck by the breadth of conception of the work. It is so well crafted and shows great understanding of all instruments through its orchestration. The solo part is full of imagination and poetry and shows the clarinet in all its many facets from the vocal legato qualities to the virtuosic capabilities of the instrument. I think that this is a work that will find a permanent place in the repertoire of top soloists."
Principal Oboe: Melbourne Symphony Orchestra; Artistic Director (Music) Monash University
Melbourne, March 2010
"Grand and virtuosic, intimate and introspective, this is a concerto full of beauty and strength. Its style is unique, with an individual sense of integrity. The orchestration is lavish and colourful against the solo virtuosic clarinet line that takes the listener on a journey of great imagination and depth. It is a wonderful addition to the solo clarinet repertoire."
Principal Flute: Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
"The depth of emotion that initiated this work and the intense force of these emotions from composer, to performer, to audience created a sound-scape of vast dimensions. Weiland’s compositional command of the language of music in the 21st century is unparalleled."
Concertmaster: Australian Brandenburg Orchestra
Sydney, April 2010
"The Clarinet Concerto of Douglas Weiland should be embraced, performed and championed by all clarinettists throughout the world. The work is a serious and substantial statement and beautifully crafted. After the boost in the 90’s clarinettists got from John Adams, James MacMillan, Brett Dean, Elliot Carter, Rolf Wallin and David Stock, (he) ensured that the 21st Century has commenced with another 'keeper' "
Artistic Director: Australian National Academy of Music
Melbourne, November 2011
Third Quartet Op. 39 (2005)
World Premiere: 20th March 2007
Australian National Academy of Music
Cameron Hill, Rebecca Chan, Stefanie Farrands, Michael Dahlenburg
The Third Quartet of Douglas Weiland invokes neither a popular nor an unpopular cause; neither does it lament a great human tragedy; nor indeed does it reference any particular social trend, phenomenon, absurdity, irritation, triumph or disappointment.
It is simply old-fashioned great music. Not old-fashioned in the sense that it in any way lacks contemporary relevance, but in the sense that the music itself is the message.
Douglas Weiland’s Third Quartet is purely musical. That it is “written at the time of the death of my father” is a personal statement of fact, not one of explanation or opportunism. It is not necessary to know this fact to gain a complete insight into this music, much as one will inevitably contemplate the humanity of such a moment.
The Third Quartet bears many of the unmistakeable fingerprints of the numerous major works of Weiland. Historically, and typically for Weiland the music sits at the end of unended lines which include Elgar, Bartok, Tippett, Prokofiev, Bach and Beethoven. In some ways Weiland’s musical language might even be seen as akin to a kind of English Penderecki, but such a comment is only made to gently assist the uninitiated in establishing approximate musical and historical bearings. Certainly Weiland’s commitment to the classical ideals of form and rhetoric are not at odds with Penderecki’s, and Weiland’s musical language is as uncompromising and particular as that of his Polish counterpart.
In reality Weiland is the next big English musical news after Elgar, Walton, Britten and Tippett. It will still be quite some time for this to be generally perceived because his music, particularly his chamber music, is mostly very difficult (though not unreasonably so) requiring many rehearsals, and because Weiland has no commitment to the aesthetics, sensationalism and political correctness of rock music.
As is normal for this composer the Third Quartet displays Weiland’s mastery of invention, form, counterpoint, harmony, clarity, balance, texture, rhetoric and atmosphere. As with all major classicists Weiland’s music is refined, specific, easily damaged, demanding of the listener’s full attention and the product of a seemingly unlimited imagination. Weiland holds the sensitivity and acuteness of the human ear in high esteem and his capacity for, and commitment to both high drama and subtlety is prolific.
Because of its many distinguished and timeless qualities it is inevitable that performances of Douglas Weiland’s Third Quartet will eventually become as ubiquitous as any of the other great post World War II string quartets.
Melbourne, January 2011
First Nomination for the 2012 Grawemeyer Award:
With the greatest pleasure, and humility, I nominate Douglas Weiland for the Grawemeyer Award.
I was privileged to attend the première performance of Weiland’s Third Quartet in March 2007. Further penetrating investigations into the music and a meeting with the composer himself in 2009 have only served to strengthen my admiration for him and his work.
In an age where words such as ‘remarkable’, ‘revelatory’ and ‘work of genius’ are bandied about with little or no thought, Weiland’s Third Quartet may be fairly appropriated to stand proudly amongst such sentiments. The influence of composers such as Bartok, Tippett and Prokofieff is subtle; the true genius of the work lies in Weiland’s thorough absorption of the styles of these masters in order to reveal an outstanding individual voice. The logical sequence of musical ideas is beyond reproach, the counterpoint masterly, and the conversational aspect which is so much a part of the great quartets of the literature is readily apparent. To these laudatory technical details must be added Weiland’s emotional facility. By turns passionate, elegiac, forceful, and even whimsical, Weiland creates a musical world which simply demands our attention.
The above should, of course, only be treated as a rough guide to the pleasures which await the listener. The music will speak for itself.
DMA Yale. Senior Lecturer in Music, Australian National University
Canberra, 9 January 2011
Other selected Reviews & Testimonials
"A remarkable Austrian first performance, Douglas Weiland’s “Trio in one movement” op. 22 introduced him to the audience as remarkably fresh, vivacious in his vitality, without any tonal hangups, and yet sparkling with innovation. A memorable evening of chamber music"
First Trio Op.22 1996 – Altenberg Trio Wien
Wiener Zeitung, Vienna
"...Its five-movement structure, with three slowish movements separated by faster and longer inventions, owes something to Bartok, to whom the finale is specifically inscribed in homage. The ideas are inventive and original, and the sure way they develop and communicate suggest a creative talent of persuasive imagination."
First Quartet Op.5 – Australian Quartet 1988 European Tour
The Times, London
"...inventive, idiomatic. The five movements embrace a variety of forms and textures, from the arid Grave, subtitled ‘Arkaroola’, to the consummatory Larghetto."
"…shows a firm grasp of what is perhaps the most demanding musical medium"
The Strad, London
"Douglas Weiland’s Homage to Philip Kendall, written two years ago and described by the composer as his ‘most mature and searching artistic chamber work to date’ made a tremendous impact. Much of it is elegiac in mood and surprisingly tuneful. Even more unusual is that no single instrument dominates the proceedings. It is indeed a finely crafted, cogently argued ensemble piece which arrestingly engages the ear and emotions and, more importantly, shows a logical musical mind at work."
Piano Quartet Op.25 1999 – Kenneth Sillito, Robert Smissen, Stephen Orton, Hamish Milne
"A composer of considerable stature."
University of Waterloo Gazette
"It is not to be assumed that a profound master of the quartet like Weiland chose the term “cavatina” without a certain sense of awe; nobody who opens himself up to the innocent magic of this simple theme and its uncontrived variations will doubt that we are here neither dealing with presumptuousness nor blasphemy, but with the purest dedication of timeless sincerity."
First Trio Op.22 1996 – Altenberg Trio 2000 Series: Brahms Saal, Musikverein Vienna, 24th Oct
"It has been a real pleasure to immerse myself recently in Douglas Weiland’s music. My instrument, the recorder, cries out for repertoire! To hear it come to life in the hands of a composer as expressive as Douglas would be very exciting."
Australian recorder virtuoso
"A first-class composition."
First Quartet Op. 5 Australian Quartet 1988 European Tour, London Premiere: Wigmore Hall
"Weiland’s Cello Suites are a wonderful enrichment to the unaccompanied cello repertoire."
Professor of Cello, Zagreb Academy of Music
"I personally find the music of Douglas Weiland to be vital and life-affirming!
It is a uniquely personal language, engaging from the outset, succinct and beautifully crafted. Quite simply, he breathes conviction and sincerity in everything he creates."
Resident Artist and Coordinator of Piano, Australian National Academy of Music
Director and Pianist, Ensemble Liaison: Ensemble-in-Residence, Monash University
"It’s a great work – a wonderful enrichment to the repertoire of concertos for violin with string orchestra."
William Hennessy/Melbourne Chamber Orchestra, Victoria Tour May 2010
Schostakowitch Trio Moscow
Altenberg Trio Wien
"Steven Isserlis played three of Bach’s Suites that are both the foundation and the summit of the cello repertory. The master cellist also gave the world premiere of the Isserlis Mikro-Suite by Douglas Weiland. The new work fitted well and was presented with the grace and expertise that were the hallmarks of this recital."
Third Solo Cello Suite Op.37
Eastern Daily Press
"Altenberg Trio Wien played with meditative grace the UK premiere of a work by Douglas Weiland. This ambitious, deeply thoughtful piece (in which the contrasting texture of the instruments mirrors the gently episodic material) well reflects Weiland’s many years as a string player in the Academy of St Martin-in-the-fields."
First Trio – ATW 1999 UK Tour, Jacqueline du Pre Music Building