Lammermuir Festival – Opening Concert – The Herald

Keith Brown, The Herald

★★★★

[Dunedin Consort] play baroque music with a vivacity few can match.

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Lammermuir Festival – Opening Concert – The Times Review

Simon Thompson, The Times

★★★★★

John Butt conducts Bach’s eternal masterpieces as though the music were the elixir of life. Silky strings, spicy winds and raucous horns gave the music a colour that any baroque ensemble would envy, and Cecilia Bernardini’s violin solo in two Vivaldi concertos flowed in and out of the ensemble with organic flexibility.

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Lammermuir Festival – Prestongrange Church – The Scotsman Review

Ken Walton, The Scotsman

★★★★★

Joy, passion and precision… it was as though Butt and his players were rediscovering this well-known music afresh all over again, and taking their listeners with them

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Lammermuir Festival – The Telegraph Review

Rupert Christiansen, Ivan Hewett, John Allison & David Kettle, The Telegraph

★★★★★

Dunedin Consort’s four-concert survey of Bach and Vivaldi might have seemed like a safe choice, but they imbued their playing with such wild energy and variety that it was anything but.

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Bach Harpsichord Concertos – Edinburgh International Festival – Scotsman Review

Susan Nickalls, The Scotsman
★★★★★

To hear Bach played on an instrument from the world-class collection at St Cecilia’s Hall offers a privileged glimpse into how the composer’s music might have sounded at the time.
…Suzuki’s hands moved seamlessly between the two manuals adding to the drama of this richly scored work. The accompanying period instruments produced a lively orchestral sound centred around the dynamic viola interactions with the harpsichord.

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Bach Harpsichord Concertos 5 – Edinburgh International Festival – The Scotsman

Carol Main, The Scotsman
★★★★

Possibly, for a concerto soloist, the only thing worse than breaking your glasses just before heading to the platform, is finding out that the glue used to fix them hasn’t worked.

Even in the face of such adversity, the show went on at St Cecilia’s Hall on Tuesday with harpsichordist Richard Egarr valiantly leading instrumentalists of the Dunedin Consort from the solo seat in Bach’s Keyboard Concerto in E major.

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Bach Harpsichord Concertos 1 – Edinburgh International Festival – The Scotsman

Ken Walton, The Scotsman
★★★★

Is there a venue more perfect for this 5-concert series of Bach’s Keyboard Concertos than the intimate 18th century St Cecila’s Hall?

Required to top it off are musicians and performances of equal calibre, which is what began to emerge as duelling harpsichordists Mahan Esfahani and Aapo Häkkinen, along with with members of the Dunedin Consort, opened the series with Bach’s solo Concerto in D and Double Concerto in C minor.

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Bach Harpsichord Concertos 2 – Edinburgh International Festival – The Scotsman

Ken Walton, The Scotsman
★★★★

The “new” material, he added, came from a 1726 cantata bearing the same theme, so the task was to do “what Bach would have done” and “turn it into a harpsichord concerto”. The result was largely convincing, strangely scored (by Bach) for supporting oboe, strings and continuo, but distinctive in this performance for the deliciously ripe oboe playing of Jasu Moisio.

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Bach Harpsichord Concertos 4 – Edinburgh International Festival – The Scotsman

Susan Nickalls, The Scotsman
★★★★

The tonal blend of the two instruments was perfect with Schornsheim’s sharper articulation adding brightness in the quicker movements…Schornsheim gave a lively account of the mercurial prelude from the English Suite No 4 in F major followed by the Keyboard Concerto in F minor. This featured a bed of soft pizzicato strings in the slow movement and there was a witty series of echoes in the presto, similar to the echo aria in Bach’s Christmas Oratorio.

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Bach’s Multiple Concertos – Edinburgh International Festival – The Arts Desk

David Nice, The Arts Desk
★★★★

You had to wait for the four to come to the fore – or for one of them, in the case of the Fifth Brandenburg Concerto, where Egarr eventually went wild in his first-movement cadenza. He also charmingly introduced the arrangement of the Italian Concerto as essentially for two players, with the other two “jamming” in a Graingeresque “dishing up”. It was a delight

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Bach Harpsichord Concertos – Edinburgh International Festival – The Times

Simon Thompson, The Times
★★★

This first concert in the series started as they mean to go on: the Dunedin musicians play on instruments from Bach’s time, and the pair of harpsichords, both from 1755, come from St Cecilia’s remarkable collection of historical instruments. What’s not to like?

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Bach’s Multiple Concertos – Edinburgh International Festival – The Scotsman

Ken Walton, The Scotsman
★★★★

The Concerto in C for three harpsichords, opened with a sound akin to a swarm of bees. But as the musical texture found flight, soloists John Butt, Richard Egarr and Diego Ares sourced mischievous gamesmanship to indulge in. The solo honours went to Egarr in the Brandenburg Concerto No 5, a golden concertante partnership with violinist Cecilia Bernardini and flautist Flavia Hirte, eliciting eccentric nuances, tasteful wit and spectacular keyboard virtuosity.

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Bach Secular Cantatas – Edinburgh International Festival – The Scotsman

Ken Walton, The Scotsman


★★★★

The latter was the more persuasive, not just for its uncommonly extravagant orchestration – trumpets, horns and timps crowning the wind and strings with resplendent euphoria – but also the compositional grit that gives rugged theatrical edge to otherwise standard cantata numbers, and which the Dunedin singers engagingly characterised.

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Matthew Passion – Boston Early Music Festival

J.S. Bach – Matthew Passion
Kristian Bezuidenhout, director
Boston Early Music Festival, 10 June 2019

Early Music America Review

The two dozen virtuoso instrumentalists under Bezuidenhout’s continuo direction brought a transparency and dramatic flair to the orchestral music that was always in tune to the spirit of the text. In all, this performance of St. Matthew Passion was a moving and unforgettable experience.

EARLY MUSIC AMERICA

Matthew Passion — The Herald Review

Keith Bruce, The Herald

★★★★★

The clarity of the instrumental playing, from continuo in all its manifestations, through the melodic lines of pairs of flutes and oboes, to the entire ensemble and a beautiful solo turn from violinist Huw Daniel, was superb, and – some slightly wayward intonation in the reeds at the start of the second half apart – consistently impressive.

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