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Concert reviews



The group sounds very well indeed. The instruments offer an attractive and potent mix, especially when played with the skill and verve shown by these musicians. Nifty finger work, sprightly lute divisions and terrific fiddling transformed works into energetic masterpieces. The Independent

A concert marked by its virtuosity, refinement, purity and exquisite good taste. The ensemble included the beautiful soprano Joanne Lunn, whose voice has a wide range, perfect diction, clean highs and an extraordinary refinement - an object lesson in singing enhanced by good taste. The audience delivered itself wholly to these English artists, the bearers of the musical flame from Shakespeare’s time. ABC de Seville

The sensitive, exquisite and clear voice of soprano Joanne Lunn, which reached moments of the highest intensity and intimacy… the accomplishments of her companions, for their individual talents as well as for their achievements as a group... an extraordinarily attractive programme, and so very well performed. El Correo de Andalucia

John Ballanger (a remarkable acrobat and the former personal jester of Princess Diana) bridged the gap between consort and audience with his tricks, gags and juggling. The visibly amused musicians followed his hints concerning games and swapping of instruments. [The concert] linked performing skills and scholarship with playful amusement, to the great delight of the audience. Andante

As the cast [of Blow’s Venus and Adonis] warbled away under the stars the ear and spirit were drawn in to the acerbic beauty of Blow’s score through the skill of the ensemble. The recorders which serenaded the billing and cooing of Venus and Adonis, and the barking violins and thrumming guitar which set off the fatal hunt were robust stage managers. And Venus’ final lament found eloquent authenticity. The Times



CD reviews



Shakespeare’s Musick has that urgent freshness that characterised early music performances in the 1970s when the rediscovery of the music of Elizabethan and Jacobean England was in its exciting infancy. The Masque of Oberon is a brilliant reconstruction of a court entertainment performed in 1612. Evening Standard

In the Masque of Oberon the flamboyant dances and fanfares played by the cornetts, shawms, sackbuts and trumpets let rip with virtuosity and vitality. Classic CD

Entertaining and irresistible [The Masque of Oberon] - Philips is on to a winner. A musical spectacle that vividly evokes the spirit of the age. Sunday Times

Singers are chosen for their fresh, unaffected voices, wind music and fanfares are played with impressive control [The Masque of Oberon]. BBC Music Magazine

The spirit of the original performances is recreated here with accounts of refreshing artlessness and simplicity [Shakespeare’s Musick]. BBC Music Magazine

Through fine performances and a thoroughly satisfying choice of instrumental music [the MoG] have contributed something especially valuable to English recorded music [The Masque of Oberon]. Shakespeare’s Musick is equally adventurous. Alongside consistently strong solo vocal contributions this is a sensitively devised programme with artistic merit well beyond its contextual modus operandi. Both these recordings can be strongly recommended. Gramophone

The Witches Scene [from Dido & Aeneas] brutally grabs the attention: with four slide-trumpets and drum in attendance, and with a bass for the Sorceress this is a striking interpretation.  Other highlights include fine solo singing in the mouth-watering Act II masque of The Fairy Queen, and impressive instrumental contributions throughout. Atmospheric in a theatrical manner of which the Bard would have been proud. Gramophone

This is a romp. These world premiere recordings of songs and incidental music by Henry Rowley Bishop are a revelation. The performances are brimming over with good humour. The music is beguiling, and the performances are uniformly superb. This is one of the most immediately appealing recordings to have come my way this year. A real fillip to the spirits. Strongly prescribed. Gramophone

[Nutmeg and Ginger] is delivered in an impressively varied manner. Good programming, good no-nonsense tunes and performances full of zest and affection. Recommended. Gramophone

A vivid portrayal of this repertoire and its time [Nutmeg and Ginger]. Tautly sprung rhythms give added piquancy to the ensemble contributions. Elsewhere the sets of variations feature this group's brilliant virtuosity. Ultimately, though, it is the exceptional, ever aptly characterised singing that makes the greatest impact. Deliciously irresistible. Highly recommended.
BBC Music Magazine

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