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Jed Distler
Gramophone, January 2019

…There are lovely moments, such as the eerily disembodied sound world the musicians conjure in Var 22, plus the assertive dotted rhythms in their well-balanced readings of Vars 7 and 26. But the competition speaks for itself.

Whether Bach would have applied such liberal doses of pizzicato is debatable, yet he would have respected the Arctic Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra’s glorious execution of them, particularly in the ‘all-pizz’ Var 19’s stunningly calibrated phrasing. © 2019 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

David Denton
David's Review Corner, November 2018

Composed in 1741, arrangers have since sought to make money by recirculating Bach’s masterpiece in numerous permutations, this is one of the most extreme. It uses recorder, saxophone and percussion, and is the work of Peter Navarro-Alonso, the saxophonist in the group Alpha. He describes his arrangement as a recomposition in which he has left the notation exactly the same as the original keyboard composition, but has allocated it to the trio of Alpha’s members. That leaves us hearing it in a different sound spectrum, the vibraphone being used as often as possible to thicken out the texture. Compared with recordings using the harpsichord, it is, nevertheless, barely on the fringe of the same musical world, and apart from pleasing the members of the critically acclaimed group, does it add anything to our understanding of the work? That I will have to leave to your judgement, apart from saying that Navarro-Alonso uses his instruments with considerable skill, particularly the saxophone’s delicate participation. The sound is rather boxy, close-up and out of keeping with Dacapo’s very high standards. © 2018 David’s Review Corner

The Northern Echo, November 2018

This recording is a note-by-note reinvention of the original Goldberg Variations by JS Bach… this familiar work takes on a new life with this creative orchestration. © 2018 The Northern Echo

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