Classical Music Home

Welcome to Naxos Records

Keyword Search
 Classical Music Home > Naxos Album Reviews

Album Reviews

See latest reviews of other albums...

Oleg Ledeniov
MusicWeb International, September 2012

Overall the music is quite conservative, yet with enough invention and talent to ensure listening pleasure. There are none of the rock or pop connections that one could expect or dread. The appeal does not come from conflict and drama, as the music is positive and sweet; nor does it come from humor or comedy, as it is not cerebral. It shares these qualities with the music of John Rutter—sweet music with style and feeling, as serious as light music goes, and as light as serious does.

The pieces are mostly monothematic and uniform, yet they are far more than exercises. There is little thematic variation and some repetition, which however does not turn into monotony, mostly thanks to the good momentum and interesting orchestral coloring. The orchestration was done by Paul Englishby, and it is excellent, vibrant and inventive. He creates an iridescent shine of orchestral colors, and the result belongs to him as much as to the composer.

The orchestral playing is coherent. The orchestra is dexterous, navigating the dense textures with clarity. The conductor handles well the rhythmic foundation, maintaining constant drive throughout; the music just flies forward. The soloists are virtuosic and expressive. The recording is clear and spacious, highlighting interesting details, yet without being overwhelming in the loud places. All in all, an enjoyable journey. © 2012 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Jack Sullivan
American Record Guide, September 2012

These six symphonic songs are full of openhearted melody and glamorous orchestration…Particularly pleasing is The Oracle, a serene bit of tunefulness that has harmonies, harps, and woodwind writing that sound a bit like early Delius.

The orchestra has a big, brassy sound, with lush strings for the soupier lyrical moments—and there are plenty of those. Martin Robertson’s alto sax solos in Siren and Charlie Siem’s violin in Blade are smooth and stylish. © 2012 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide online

Winnipeg Free Press, July 2012

This well-performed set covers a diverse range of moods within its six pieces, two of which have solo roles for violin (Charlie Siem) and saxophone (Martin Robertson).

Banks’ lyrical bent is sincere and his sounds are comfortably plush…This disc is currently a big seller in the U.K. Fans of Genesis might want to investigate it. © 2012 Winnipeg Free Press Read complete review

Jerome Crossley
WCLV, May 2012

In the booklet notes to his latest solo project, Banks explains that during the last Genesis tour he was often asked what he’d be getting up to next. And “in order, I think, to say something rather than nothing, I would say I wanted to do another orchestral work.” Six Pieces for Orchestra is the result. Banks’ melodic facility and ability to conjure up distinctive atmospheres are on display throughout the suite…it’s consistently enjoyable minor music from one of our era’s major musicians. © 2012 WCLV Read complete review

ProgSheet, May 2012

Six Pieces For Orchestra was recorded with the City Of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Paul Englishby. Banks brought in 2 soloists: Martin Robinson on alto saxophone and Charlie Siem on violin.

Siren starts the album off on a big note. Quite a grand melody rules the number which is stated by Robinson’s saxophone. I love how his alto sits texturally with the orchestra. The piece is full of power, drawing us in to some fast cinemascopic spectacle. Still Waters is perhaps more brooding as it slowly unwinds its mood before your ears. Yet, that brooding gives way to majesty as we hear those Banks chords he seems to pull out of the ether! Straight out of an Errol Flynn adventure comes Blade rousing hearts and breaking them thanks in no small part to Siem’s entrancing violin. Siem’s fingers are like liquid hummingbirds as they fly and dance across his violin. For those seeking a piece closest to Banks’ signature sound, look no further than Wild Pilgrimage. An achingly beautiful melody against those chords. No one else on Earth owns that sound. You need this. You really do. No less stellar is The Oracle. A clarinet is the voice amongst the eerie stillness. Cellos provide color underneath. Such a moving piece. City Of Gold provides the big payoff. It’s a slow burner, building moods, gaining motion as its emotions change. Majestic brass against a curtain of strings. It’s the final scene of an epic adventure!

Tony Banks has delivered a thoroughly satisfying work with Six Pieces For Orchestra. Color. Emotion. Thrills. Tears. Above all: beauty. Go buy this right this moment! © 2012 ProgSheet Read complete review

Chris Morgan
Scene Magazine, April 2012

[Tony Bank's] latest project, Six Pieces for Orchestra, showcases an innovative composer of rare lyrical ability at the peak of his creative powers. It’s a creative sensibility that results in a collection of evocative, vibrant music, which invites the listener on a journey through sprawling soundscapes of cascading strings and swelling horns. Soloists Charlie Siem and Martin Robertson bring contributions to the fore as well; the smoky sensuality of the alto saxophone, the violin’s crisp lines and dynamic pathos imbue the music with sublime appeal. The genesis of an aural success. © 2012 Scene Magazine Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, April 2012

Founder of the famous progressive rock group, Genesis, Tony Banks here makes his second excursion into the world of symphonic music. Happy with his first venture that resulted in the Naxos recording of his orchestral score, Seven, Banks writes in his disc’s programme notes, that he had learnt much, not least to write his piano short score in orchestral terms. The outcome is the descriptive Six Pieces for Orchestra containing movements requiring violin and alto saxophone soloists. His music for the film industry largely colours the score, the titles of each piece being the key to open its contents, the whole piece taking us through a universal story of ‘the seductress, journey, hero, quest, decision and eventual goal’. In arriving at the final performing score he has had the help of the film composer, Paul Englishby, who has brought Banks’s thoughts on orchestration into being. It reaches our ears in a rich tapestry to surround the warm melodic ideas, the fourth section, Wild Pilgrimage, being a perfect backdrop to a Hollywood movie on the opening up of the beautiful American prairies, while The Oracle has the influences of the Eastern world. Martin Robertson’s alto saxophone begins the work as it weaves a smooth seductive web around the Siren, and the charismatic young violinist, Charlie Siem, becomes the ‘golden boy’ hero in Blade. In a ‘wide-screen’ finale we eventually reach the City of Gold, the objective of the hero’s journey. Paul Englishby directs a Prague orchestra well versed in the world of film music. © David’s Review Corner

Naxos Records, a member of the Naxos Music Group