Matthew’s research spans the medieval and the modern, in theoretical and practical contexts. As a medievalist, he is interested in editing and analysing the texts and music of late medieval liturgical sources (manuscripts and early printed books) with particular emphasis on transmission and reception, as well as undertaking wider studies of the patterns of liturgy, ritual, and music in late medieval England. Matthew’s research has always been informed by practice, and he continues to direct recordings, performances, and services involving newly edited music and liturgy. Matthew is also interested in the theology of music in present-day Christian worship: he has worked on specific issues related to participation and the liturgical theology of Joseph Ratzinger.
Recently completed projects include a new critical edition (co-edited with John and Sally Harper) of the sixteenth-century Sarum Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary (2 volumes, Stainer & Bell for the British Academy, 2019) and an edited volume of theological and practical essays on dementia and worship (Church House Publishing, anticipated 2020). He has also published seven other books and scholarly editions, including The Secular Liturgical Office in Late Medieval England (Brepols, 2015).
Recently he worked with sound artists and the National Trust to produce a sound installation which immerses visitors to the stately home The Vyne in the sounds of the medieval liturgy. From 2012 to 2014 he helped to lead Fragments: music, movement, and memory in a Borders landscape, in collaboration with Historic Scotland and Red Field Arts. ‘Fragments’ was an arts project, funded by Creative Scotland, which used a fragment of a twelfth-century musical manuscript along with the historic built environment to engage with contemporary composers, artists, dancers, and musicians, leading to a much-enjoyed collaboration with ‘Goldie’, the pioneer of UK drum and bass, jungle, and breakbeat hardcore music. This work was the subject of an Oxford Impacts case study.
In the wider world, Matthew serves as the National Liturgy and Worship Adviser of the Church of England. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in 2015. As consultant to the Medieval Convent Drama Project, investigating the much-ignored representative rituals written by women in the late Middle Ages (http://medievalconventdrama.org/), Matthew was appointed chercheur senior in English philology in the Faculté des Lettres, Université de Fribourg, Switzerland. He is a regular invited speaker in academic and public contexts on subjects related to liturgy and music and news of his research and collaborative work has been presented in the national and international news media. Matthew has also advised a number of BBC factual and drama programmes.
In the Faculty, he served a three-year term as Chair (until 2019) and for several years has coordinated the annual appointment of organ scholars across the University.
Matthew convenes a Finals option in the Theologies of Sacred Music, has taught a postgraduate option in Western Plainchant, and has supervised undergraduate and postgraduate research in a range of areas related to music and worship. His teaching focuses on the historical side of the course in Music.