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  Classical Music Home > UK > Press Reviews 2009


April 2009

8.570719 MacMillan: Seven Last Words

“James MacMillan deploys a rich palette of harmony in evoking both anguish and consolation… the variety of means is underpinned by the music’s seamless strand of emotional sincerity, establishing, in this radiant performance, a profoundly affecting balance between awe and dramatic, human narrative.”
-Geoffrey Norris, The Daily Telegraph, 18 April 2009

“This is the work’s third recording… and, on balance, the most compelling and inexorable sounding yet. Graham Ross secures outstandingly fervent and finely disciplined results from the Youthful Dmitri Ensemble… Plaudits must also go to John Rutter, who is credited with the triple role of producer, engineer and editor…Richly rewarding listening, all of it.
-Andrew Achenbach, Gramophone, September issue

BBC Music Choice
“The Dmitri Ensemble sings with powerful passion… until now I have been happy with the recording by Polyphony on Hyperion, but in comparison with the Dmitri Enselble’s contained heat is now sounds just a little cool. The Naxos recording too is outstanding, fully exploiting the resonant church acoustic but never to the detriment of detail.”
-Stephen Johnson, BBC Music Magazine  June issue

“This is a fitting birthday present. Vocal tone and diction are sonorously clear, textures transparent and the passion of the cross almost palpably evident. The addition of a previously unrecorded motet, the contemplative Nemo te condemnavit is a special treat. I didn’t want
this to end.”
-Charlotte Gardner, Classic FM Magazine June issue

“This disc is in a class of its own… it’s almost like being in the midst of the singers, so superbly recorded is it…. If you are at all interested in the work of James MacMillan, do not hesitate; this recording is an amazing tribute to the composer on his fiftieth birthday, and an essential contribution to the MacMillan discography.”
-Ivan Moody, International Record Review  July/August issue

“The Dmitri Ensemble, under conductor Graham Ross, rises ably to the challenges of MacMillan’s sound world. The disc provides a fitting tribute to the composer.”
-Philip Reed, Choir and Organ July/August issue


8.570774 Bax: Symphonic Variations
“[Wass and Judd] seem to find an extra degree of rhythmic excitement in the bravura ‘Strife’ section… on balance I think this is now the benchmark for this work” -Calum Macdonald, BBC Music Magazine, 7 April 2009

“A marvellous musical team weaves its magic in this spellbinding repertoire.”
-Andrew Achenbach, Gramophone, 27 April 2009

“Ashley Wass’s performance of the hefty solo piano writing has real commitment and authority.”
-Andrew Clements, The Guardian 24 April 2009

“Wass is a superbly clear, commanding and fluent soloist, while Judd conjures vivid accompaniments from the Bournemouth SO.”
-Malcolm Hayes, Classic FM Magazine  July issue


8.570992 Ravel: Daphnis et Chloe
“You won’t go wrong [with Markl]…[he] proclaim[s] an authentically French timbre… Markl can count on a younger-sounding professional chorus and an orchestra that, despite its darker texture, lets the music float on air.”
-Andrew Clark, Financial Times, 11 April 2009

“Daphnis dazzles - and at bargain price…This Naxos disc, in dazzling sound, demonstrates that under its latest music director, Jun Markl, [the ONL’s standards] remain just as high… the Lyon orchestra gives a powerful and subtle performance, with the wind and brass soloists outstanding… Naxos has again demonstrated its rare ability to produce excellent discs at bargain price.”
-Edward Greenfield, Gramophone,  27 April 2009

“Jun Markl with the LNO is more convincingly ‘French’; the scores exquisitely jewelled detail is allowed to shine out and at dawn you can almost hear the glint of sun on rippling sea.”
-Jessica Duchen, Classic FM Magazine  June issue


8.572031 Penderecki: Utrenja
“ One of Penderecki’s finest and most explosive scores,. Utrenja deserves to be as well known as his Luke Passion, and this new recordings could well be the answer.” -The Independent, 19 April 2009

“ The performance under Antoni Wit seems excellent.”
-Andrew Clements, The Guardian , 1 May 2009

“ In the hands of Antoni Wit’s expert Warsaw forces and a fine solo line-up, it all makes a powerful effect.”
-Anthony Burton, BBC Music Magazine  July issue


8.570722 Szymanowski: Symphonies 1 & 4
“The Warsaw performers, under Antoni Wit,  a Szymanowski conductor of the highest rank, are clearly utterly within the spirit of the music: it would be hard to imagine more convincing performances….. these are the recordings to have.”
-Ivan Moody, IRR  May issue


“Well worth hearing, especially when performed… with such conviction by Antoni Wit and the Warsaw Philharmonic.”
-John Allison, BBC Music Magazine July issue

“An impressive addition to the Naxos survey of symphonic Szymanowski…it would take significantly greater financial outlay to find anything better than this, and even then the differences would be marginal.”
-David Fanning, Gramophone  August issue



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