B Minor Mass (Queen’s Hall) – The Herald

The Herald, 21 June 2018 ★★★★

Will the days of big choral concerts of Bach’s B Minor Mass ever return to revival the chamber approach of historically-informed performance? Not if conductors like John Butt continue to produce revelatory recitals like this one… every combination of vocals and continuo playing flowed in seemingly effortless sequence… the instrumental ensemble was superb throughout, and as soulful a period band as you are ever likely to hear.

B Minor Mass (Wigmore Hall) – The Times

The Times, 25 June 2018 ★★★★

[John Butt] fields six “soloists” joined by four other singers to add lustre and body to the bigger setpieces. As they fall in and out of the textures, the sense that’s created is more of a communal celebration, a moment-by-moment experience of the Mass rather than the enactment of a mysterious rite. Butt, who directs from the harpsichord, works for a long time with the same forces and it shows in the easy rapport he has with his players and singers. For all the debates on historically informed performance, the most persuasive aspect of this concert was the sheer sense of joy. It was there in the moment when Butt pressed the accelerator and the ensemble soared into Gloria in excelsis Deo. It was also there as the singers moved from the desolation of Crucifixus etiam pro nobis to the blaze of salvation that is Et resurrexit.

#RPSCountdown: our highlights from 2017

As the classical music world gears up for the Royal Philharmonic Society Awards on Wednesday 9th May, we have been looking back at our favourite moments from 2017 and celebrating the many reasons why Dunedin is shortlisted in the Ensemble category From Edinburgh to Leipzig, Waltershausen to London, we look back on an extraordinary year.

2017 Highlights

  1. Where else could we start but with our BBC Proms debut from 20 August 2017, a performance of Bach’s John Passion ‘that shed new light on the work by carefully contextualising it’ (Guardian).
  2. In June 2017 we performed in the magnificent Nikolaikirche as part of Leipzig Bachfest. What a venue – and what a spectacular occasion.

    Bows in Leipzig

  3. On 5 August 2017 we had the honour of opening Edinburgh International Festival’s series at The Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh with a programme exploring connections between Schütz and Monteverdi. The Scotsman enjoyed it as much as we did! ‘Delivered with the Consort’s typical joie de vivre and flourish’ (Scotsman)
  4. In September 2017 we ticked a huge item off our bucket list when we traveled to Waltershausen,Germany with Iestyn Davies to perform a programme of Bach and Handel on an original Bach organ.

    Waltershausen

  5. In April 2017 we enjoyed our first collaboration with Kristian Bezuidenhout, who directed from the harpsichord in three Matthew Passion performances across Scotland. ‘The solo instrumental playing in this performance was unwaveringly stunning’ (Herald)
  6. September 2017 saw the release of our Monteverdi Vespers 1610 recording, which has earned a glut of 5 star reviews. ‘Stripped back performances that are fresh and luminous, lithe and alive’ (Herald – Top 20 Classical Albums of 2017)
  7. In April 2017 we were thrilled to be part of James Runcie’s BBC Radio 4 drama exploring how Bach’s Matthew Passion was written, composed, rehearsed and performed in the build-up to its first performance in Leipzig on Good Friday 1727.

7 days, 7 highlights from 2017, 7 reasons why we have been nominated for an RPS Ensemble Award.

Monteverdi Vespers 1610 – Choir & Organ

Choir & Organ Magazine, March/April 2018 ★★★★★

Not for John Butt the nit-picking over liturgical detail that has bedevilled the study of Monteverdi’s 1610 anthology: swerving that in favour of a concert presentation, concentrating on issues at the heart of the music, he re-examines vexed questions of pitch, tempi, scoring etc with utterly credible, even revelatory results. Vital passion (especially in the concerti), fresh, compelling fervour, luminous clarity and exquisite phrasing flow from ten vocal virtuosi and brilliant instrumentalists. Even if one prefers interpretations with a ripieno choir, it must be conceded that small forces of this quality can pack a knock-out punch – che forza!

Monteverdi Vespers 1610 – Stereophile Recording of the Month

Stereophile Magazine, Recording of the Month – May 2018 ★★★★★

This performance, joyously free of eccentricities, interested only in the honest, beautiful expression of music and texts, is heavenly.

Read full review

Kate Molleson on how Dunedin Consort is shaping the future

In an article for The Herald, Kate Molleson has described how the work that Dunedin Consort is doing is helping the world of baroque music to become inclusive and future-facing ‘not by narrowing down but by opening up’.

Read the full article here.

Monteverdi Vespers recording nominated in 2018 ICMAs

We are delighted to reveal that our Monteverdi Vespers 1610 recording has been nominated in the ‘Best Baroque Vocal’ category at the 2018 International Classical Music Awards.

The Award Ceremony and Gala concert will take place on April 6 2018 in Katowice, hosted by the National Polish Radio Symphony NOSPR.

Read more about the full list of nominees here.

Monteverdi Vespers 1610 – BBC Radio 3 Record Review

BBC Radio 3 Record Review

The standard of solo singing is outstanding, beautifully ornamented.

Monteverdi Vespers 1610 – The Herald review

The Herald

Stripped back performances under John Butt that are fresh and luminous, lithe and alive.

Kate Molleson, Top 20 Classical Albums of 2017

Monteverdi Vespers 1610 – Observer review

Observer

The recording sounds fresh and clear, emphasising transparency without a big reverberant acoustic.

Full Review

Monteverdi Vespers 1610 – Financial Times review

Financial Times

Informed by a judicious weighing-up of current scholarship, Butt’s performance is often one voice to a part, giving the music an intimate feel … a virtuoso display of individual talents.

Full Review

Monteverdi Vespers 1610 – Mail on Sunday review

Mail on Sunday *****

Any recording by Butt is an event. And this one, recorded with a small, hand-picked choir of ten voices, is special even by his elevated standards.

Monteverdi Vespers 1610 – Sunday Times review

Sunday Times

The Dunedin Consort’s 10 voices combine to make a magnificent choral sound.

Monteverdi Vespers 1610 – Gramophone review

Gramophone

With so many Vespers recordings out there, this one joins the ranks of those with both a character of its own and something to say.

Full Review

Monteverdi Vespers 1610 – BBC Music Magazine review

BBC Music Magazine

This compelling and insightful album is an outstanding contribution to Monteverdi’s 450th anniversary … Particularly effective is the coloristic sonority of the organ which, by employing the Hauptwerk system, reproduces the sound of an early Venetian instrument.