Three Matisse Impressions, in its original version for recorder and piano, was completed in 1993, and is dedicated to Alix Denzler, two of whose paintings were given to the composer and his wife. The work was composed as a small reciprocal gesture for these paintings (the artist is an enthusiastic recorder player). It is no coincidence that the title of the pieces refers to three well-known paintings by Matisse, an artist for whom the composer and the dedicatee share mutual admiration. The work is in three movements: Pastoral – Lux, Calme et Volupté – La Danse.
In 1997, the composer made a new version of Three Matisse Impressions for recorder, strings, harp and percussion. This version, which is dedicated to John Turner, was premiered by the dedicatee and the Northern Chamber Orchestra.
Works like Three Matisse Impressions that also explore the world of impressionism clearly demonstrate the place such pieces have in the contemporary repertoire, not technically over-facing, but with much the players can find to express in a mainstream musical idiom that continues to serve the recorder well.
Andrew Mayes, The Recorder Magazine, Spring 2001
Edward Gregson’s evocative style is a kind of French/English impressionism, and he does well by Matisse. Luxe, calme et volupte is all three, and the winsome closing Danse suggests a shepherd piping.
Ivan March, Gramophone, July 2000
The colourful world of Matisse is matched in Edward Gregson’s quasi impressionistic orchestral version (difficult to imagine in the original piano and recorder version) – the luxurious second movement is a kind of L’apres midi, but with a more introspective faun. This set of Matisse Impressions’uses the recorder less as a soloist than as a concertante element in the overall tapestry of fauviste colour.
Colin Scott-Sutherland, Classical Music on the Web, 2000
Edward Gregson conducts his own piece, which at one point sexily adds cymbals and harp to the strings in his Matisse impression with a Baudelairean subtitle – Luxe, calme et volupté.
Piers Burton-Page, International Record Review, May 2000
Edward Gregson conducts his own orchestration of his Three Matisse Impressions. Very effective in the recorder and piano original, the impressionistic elements are even more evident in this version in which the harp especially adds a Ravel/Debussy colouring to the strings.
Adam J Dopadlik, Recorder Magazine, March 2000
treble recorder (sop)+perc(1)/hp/str
First Performance: 1997
The Heritage Centre, Macclesfield, UK
Northern Chamber Orchestra, John Turner (recorder)