Matthew Kaner

The Calligrapher’s Manuscript

Premiered by the London Symphony Orchestra, 19 September 2013, conducted by Robin Ticciati.


The score can be viewed and purchased here.


Buy the Recording

The Panufnik Legacies

Click to download the MP3 or purchase the recording with the London Symphony Orchestra and François-Xavier Roth, recorded August 2015.

Press Reviews for The Calligrapher’s Manuscript

A new piece, then, from Matthew Kaner that arrived fully-fledged and rejoiced in the fulfillment of beautiful sonorities and a relish of embellishment that aimed to seduce as surely as did Uchida’s Mozart. Supported by the Helen Hamlyn Trust as part of the Panufnik Young Composers Scheme The Calligrapher’s Manuscript made music of penmanship and progressed from a first half alive with virtuosic flourishes etched out in piccolo, E-flat clarinet, and steely tuned percussion to an “illuminated” second half comprising myriad siren songs as if the folksy melismas of Canteloube’s Chants d’Auvergne had been reborn in the 21st century. Kaner’s piece exhibited real orchestral craftsmanship and has tweaked my interest in hearing more of what he has to offer. Edward Seckerson, 20 Sep 2013

In between, we heard the premiere of Matthew Kaner’s The Calligrapher’s Manuscript, commissioned by the LSO Panufnik Young Composers Scheme. Taking its inspiration from the work of the 17th-century Bavarian master calligrapher Johann Hering, the new piece – scored for large forces and lasting just over 10 minutes – opens with an outburst of tinkling high up in the orchestra and chattering winds, everyone in a state of flux and tracing ornamental lines. Kaner’s handling of the orchestra is accomplished from the start, and as the work progresses he stamps an imaginative mark, too: the second half develops quite sensuously as long and sinuous lines emerge from underneath the filigree. John Allison, Daily Telegraph, 20 Sep 2013

The LSO’s Panufnik Scheme has already commissioned some plums (happily recorded, too, link below) and now has another one in Matthew Kaner’s 12-minute The Calligrapher’s Manuscript inspired by the 17th-century Bavarian, Johann Hering, whose work is personal and experimental. Kaner (born 1986) opens his impressive opus, scored for a standard large orchestra including harp, piano and celesta, in tintinnabulating and shrieking style, suggesting (to this listener) the mysteries of the universe, from piccolo skirls to the deep foundation of a contrabassoon, trumpets sounding a call to attention. The music increases in energy (tom-toms fuelling further incident) until the work’s second half arrives (without interruption) with nocturnal string-writing and delicious woodwind arabesques, Pibroch-like, for something expressive and touching, delicate percussion colours of bells, marimba and glockenspiel adding a further layer of atmosphere. If the LSO plans a second Panufnik Legacies CD (please!), then The Calligrapher’s Manuscript, which is exhilarating and haunting, should certainly be included. This striking piece received an excellent first performance. Colin Anderson, The Classical Source, 20 Sep 2013

Uchida then joined the audience to listen to the world premiere of The Calligrapher’s Manuscript by Matthew Kaner. Its confident opening immediately grabbed the attention, allowing a strong cinematic quality to emerge. Although this was not merely soundtrack music, it was easy to imagine powerful events unfolding to the accompaniment of Kaner’s large orchestra. Nick Kimberley, Evening Standard, 20 Sep 2013

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