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

Keith Bruce, The Herald

★★★★

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.

Read the full review here.

B Minor Mass (Wigmore Hall) – The Times Review

Stephen Petitt, The Times

★★★★

[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.

Read the full review here.

Monteverdi Vespers – Lammermuir Festival

The Scotsman *****

[Butt] brought an astonishing richness and smoothness to his Dunedin forces’ sound… By the walls of sound in the closing Magnificat, the Vespers felt overwhelming in their grandeur, but there was something to savour in every moment. It is hard to imagine a more exquisite, deeply felt performance.

 

Full review here

Monteverdi Vespers – Lammermuir Festival

The Herald *****

 

This richness and variety shone through in this superbly stylish and joyful performance from Dunedin Consort and His Majestys Sagbutts & Cornetts directed from the organ by John Butt. The Vespers is a lengthy work, but here delivered with the Consort’s trademark energy, the momentum was never allowed to falter… All told this was an exhilarating performance and it was rapturously received by the capacity audience in St Mary’s.

 

Full review here

Sophie Bevan Review – Baroque fireworks lit by natural spark

The Guardian – Kate Molleson

There’s something brilliantly robust and natural about her singing: no artifice, no fuss, a healthy wit, a refreshing kind of virtuosity that’s grounded and almost casual but still totally dazzling. Her voice is bigger and richer than we’re used to hearing with the Dunedins, but it works.
[…] The playing was plenty warm, with violinist Cecilia Bernardini trading beautifully shaped solo lines with recorder players Pamela Thorby and Catherine Latham in Bach’s fourth Brandenburg concerto.

Full review

Coffee & Enlightenment – The Arts Desk Review

David Kettle, The Arts Desk

Together they blended to create a modern-day opportunity to meet, listen, eat, drink and take time to consider some weightier musical and cultural issues.

[…]

It was an experiment for sure. But it was one that paid off in terms of its abundant audience – drawn by the event’s various elements, of course – but also in terms of the engaging, fresh light it shed on the cafe culture of Bach’s time, and in provoking thoughts and discussion about our own.

Read the review in full here.

Monteverdi Vespers – The Guardian Review

Alfred Hickling, The Guardian

Evanescent, visceral, thrilling Monteverdi…

Read the full review here.

East Neuk Festival – The Herald Review

Kate Molleson, The Herald

The hunting horns were heroically ballsy, swinging the cross-rhythms to make the music really dance, and a breezy charisma from all players on stage made for lively, conversational music making

Read the full review here.

Coffee and Enlightenment – The Herald Review

Kate Molleson, The Herald

[…] balancing gutsy panache and pristine, shapely definition in Bach’s Third Orchestral Suite. Cantatas 165 and 31 featured excellent singing from Matthew Brook, Thomas Hobbs, Rachel Redmond and Clare Wilkinson.

Read the review in full here.

Messiah 2014 – Bachtrack Review

David Smythe, Bachtrack

There were too many wonderful moments in this performance to single out. What made this a memorable Messiah were the small forces blending into a big dynamic sound, crystal clear diction and both singers and players simply bursting with infectious energy. As the final Amens with trumpets and timpani faded away, I wondered how different the first performance might have sounded all those years ago in Dublin. The beaming smiles from performers and audience suggested it surely must have come close.

Read the full review here.

Acis & Galatea – Bachtrack Review

Alan Coady, Bachtrack

★★★★

‘The brisk Sinfonia suggested an energetic, committed performance. Control of dynamics was literally vital, moments of sudden quiet allowing further urgent build up […] everyone looked delighted to be taking part. When not actively involved the singers and musicians seemed genuinely to be enjoying the contribution of others as much as we were.

Read the review in full here.

Acis & Galatea – The Herald Review

Kate Molleson, The Herald

★★★★★

Don’t let anyone tell you Acis and Galatea is too vapid for decent drama, nor that an opera in concert performance can’t be properly entertaining. What little plot there is to Handel’s 1718 pastoral mini-opera involves a nymph, a shepherd and an evil monster, all lifted from book eight of Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Usually a performance is worth sitting through for its gorgeous music alone: this concise little two-acter contains some of Handel’s most irresistible tunes.

Read the full review here.

Matthew Passion – The Scotsman Review

David Chillingworth, The Scotsman

I was taken unawares. We don’t expect to be “shaken and stirred” by anything religious these days. Bored perhaps, but not turned inside out as I was…

Full article on www.scotsman.com