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a life in architecture colin matthews

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The British Museum reading room initiated a love of domed roofs for the composer Colin Matthews.

He cites the dome of the Royal Albert Hall in particular as it was there, as a promenader, that he 'learnt to find out about music'.

Now his own works have featured in nine proms, and he sits in the posh seats whenever he goes, but Matthews still feels the excitement that the hall engenders.

His second choice is Stonehenge, which he used to drive past as a child on the way to the West Country for family holidays. These days he has a cottage in Somerset and still gets the same thrill when Stonehenge appears over the brow of the hill.

'It is always so spectacular. Things seem to get smaller as you get older, but Stonehenge never does.'

Matthews' third choice, the Thiepval Memorial in the Somme battlefields, commemorates all those soldiers who could not be found after the First World War - every brick is inscribed with a name. It is a landmark which he first visited with his mother who lost her father in that war. He has since been back to the site three times.

Designed by Edwin Lutyens, the memorial appears to be 'a huge, triumphal arch and yet it is not triumphal at all'; a quality which Colin Matthews seeks to capture in his music - 'a way of being untriumphal. Of finding the structure without the emotions'.

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