25 March 2013
Our new recording of Bach's John Passion has stormed to the top of the UK Specialist Classical Chart after its first week of release! It is also at Number 10 in the UK Classical Artist Chart1
This is another great result with this album selected as 'Recording of the Month' by not one, but three different publications!
Recording of the Month: 'a dramatic, profoundly considered reading.' ***** BBC Music Magazine
Recording of the Month: '...[a] perfectly paced ensemble Passion.' Gramophone
Recording of the Month: 'an exceptionally fine small-scale performance' MusicWeb International
'wonderfully pure, buoyant and transparent.' Financial Times
'the liturgical experience offers benefits to heart and mind.' The Times
'A breakthrough on Bach's John Passion.' The Herald
'historic and supremely important new recording' The Observer
'This Johannes Passion performance is without doubt the most involving and dramatic I have encountered.' McAlister Matheson Music
'The impact is huge. The architecture, emotion and implication of Bach's music all change.' The Big Issue
16 March 2013
John Butt has been awarded the Royal College of Organists highest honour. He was amongst the three Medal recipients honoured at the College’s Conferment of Diplomas ceremony at Southwark Cathedral on Saturday 11th March were. The three recipients were:
• Prof. John Butt OBE, for organ playing, organ- and choral-related scholarship, and choral conducting
• Dr Peter Hurford OBE, for organ playing, choral conducting, organ teaching, organ and choral composition, and organ-related administration
• Mr Mark Venning, for organ building, organ-related scholarship, and organ-related administration.
Photography by RCO / Simon Jacobs
04 March 2013
We catch up with Nicholas Mulroy ahead of his appearance as the Evangelist in our upcoming concerts next week.
When did you decide to become a singer?
There probably wasn't a specific timing to the decision. I studied languages at university, and when I spent a year in South America I missed the collective act of music making a lot; perhaps that was when the seed was initially sown.
What would have you become if you had not pursued music professionally?
I worry that I'm unemployable otherwise, but I think I might have followed my parents into some sort of educational job. I enjoy the bits of teaching I do at the moment, and those times when you can see or feel something getting through to someone for the first time can be incredibly satisfying, which isn't unlike something we aim for in performance - a moment of direct communication.
Tell us about one of the highlights of your career to date?
That's a difficult one! I tend not to look back very much (also, my memory isn't what it was...), and often find that people's ideas about any given concert can differ hugely anyway. But I work regularly with some extraordinary musicians (very much including the Dunedin Consort), and have been incredibly privileged to hear quite amazing performances of all kinds of things in all kinds of places. There are, of course, certain places where it's always a thrill to sing - the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam is very special, for example - but the main thing is the connection between the performers, the music and the audience; when you get that right it's quite something.
Are stereotypes about tenors true? Do you all really want to sing as high as you can?
I might not be the best person to answer that.. Though I do think that performing can cause stress in every musician. In Britain the more neurotic types don't tend to be indulged too much, whereas on the continent I've found there to be more concessions given. Having said that, singing tenor can feel a bit like a high wire act (mostly without a safety net!), and there is of course always an element of macho competition in any extreme sport like that.
What's special about working with John Butt and the Dunedin Consort?
There's always a strong sense of discovery in everything John does - no two performances are the same, and he creates a fantastic working atmosphere where everyone feels comfortable trying new things, and pushing themselves and each to new places with the music. John wears his huge amount of knowledge very lightly, but is endlessly compelling and never fails to shed new light on what we're performing, more often than not with unusual and entertaining turns of phrase. It also helps that the musicians of the group are all amongst the very best around.
What keeps you awake at night?
At the moment, my four month old son, Michael.
What is the hardest thing about performing the Evangelist role you will be singing with us?
It's a fantastic role to sing. In telling the story, a big part of the piece belongs to the Evangelist, and the way Bach sets the story, harmonically and dramatically, is - in both Passions - completely masterful. But it's not easy! Firstly, it's long (and the way we do it with Dunedin means that I sing in all the choruses and the tenor arias, too, so not much time off), so the question of pacing is key. It's not completely clear how 'involved' the Evangelist should be: in the St John, for example, it always seems to me that the storyteller is really very close to the action - he could well be the 'well-beloved disciple' mentioned - so one has to consider how emotionally bound up with it the Evangelist should be, and to what degree one is outraged or bereaved by what happens. Bach gives lots of clues, though: harmonically you can feel the story ebb and flow, peak and trough as you go through, all of which helps you along the journey of these extraordinary pieces.
21 February 2013
Gramophone has awarded the Dunedin Consort’s gripping new performance of Bach’s 'John Passion' its highest accolade naming it ‘Recording of the Month’ in the March issue of the magazine!
This new recording marks the first time on record listeners can experience the Passion within its original liturgical context and features a star-studded cast including, Nicholas Mulroy, Matthew Brook, Robert Davies, Joanne Lunn and Clare Wilkinson.
‘...the increasingly impressive Nicholas Mulroy’s alert, lightly coloured Evangelist strikes a balance in which declamation and lyricism are equally ardent and equally touching, while Matthew Brook is a supple and authoritative Christus.’ Gramophone
Fans of Dunedin Consort will know that director John Butt is a master at using historical context to shine new light upon well-known choral works. Recreated for this recording is a Good Friday Vesper liturgy of a passion performance as it would have occurred during Bach's time at Leipzig.
‘...naturalness and emotional honesty are what emerge from this tight-knit and perfectly paced ensemble Passion, in which Bach’s complex succession of recitatives, arias, choruses and chorales has surely seldom sounded so convincingly of a piece.’ Gramophone
your copy now, join us for our tour dates (below) or visit Linn website
to learn more about this exciting new recording!
16 January 2013
To mark the release of our latest CD, Bach's John Passion, we embark on a tour that will see both of Bach's passions performed accross Scotland during March.
09 January 2013
Dunedin's popular workshops return this year! We will focus one of the greatest pieces of the classical period: Mozart's Requiem.
The workshops will be led by John Butt and our regular Dunedin singers.
As in previous years the project will culminate in a performance, in conjunction with Glasgow University Choral Society, in Glasgow’s Bute Hall on Saturday 23 March. The weekend course will once again take place in Edinburgh, with day workshops planned for Aberdeen and Glasgow. Online bookings are now open. Remember if you attend our intensive weekend, you can participate in the day workshops free of charge!
You can find further details on our diary:
29 December 2012
We are delighted to announce that John Butt is to become an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to music in Scotland.
26 November 2012
The evenings are drawing in and there is a nip in the air. It's time to light the fire, fetch the decorations and get into the Christmas spirit with Dunedin Consort's annual performance of Handel's greatest oratorio, Messiah.
Join us for this traditional celebration of Christmas in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Perth or Glenrothes with Scotland's award-winning Dunedin Consort directed by John Butt. Take time out from the crowds and the mayhem to remember the true meaning of Christmas. Book early to avoid disappointment.
16 August 2012
We are delighted to announce the appointment of Cecilia Bernardini as our new leader. Many of you will already have had the pleasure of watching and hearing her play; I’m sure you’ll agree that her passionate and beautiful playing has greatly added to the performances she has already been involved in.
Cecilia is a highly sought after musician throughout Europe and we are very pleased that she’ll be working closely with John Butt on our future projects. She says,
making music with John Butt has been one of the main reasons for me to want be part of the Dunedin Consort; I’ve rarely encountered a musician who has both such a profound knowledge of music and and at the same time a really fresh spontaneity on the stage. I have always felt incredibly motivated and inspired by the musicians around me and I look forward to a longer collaboration as leader of the orchestra of the Dunedin Consort.
13 August 2012
During the last two years, the activity of the Dunedin Consort has grown significantly. This has posed challenges to Dunedin’s management structure, particularly in view of the sharp increase in international profile, and the Board of Directors has been considering how to respond.
In reviewing the current structure we identified the need for strong leadership and clarity of decision making with a sharper focus on the management of the company and on its musical direction. As a result of this review the Directors have decided that the current advisory roles of “Artistic Director” should end. These will instead be a single role of “Music Director” responsible for advising the Board on the broad artistic strategy. There will be a more senior role of Chief Executive, representing the Board, driving change and delivering all targets set by the Board.
We considered the skills and experience that each of these roles required and as a result, we have decided that John Butt
should be the Music Director, and Alfonso Leal the Chief Executive.
Our repertoire continues to expand in the trajectory we have set with plans to perform and record more instrumental music, larger scale oratorios as well as earlier 17th century repertoire. This diversification of the repertoire will result in Dunedin having to build and draw upon a broader pool of artists. Whilst both Susan Hamilton and Philip Hobbs will no longer contribute to Dunedin as Artistic Directors, they of course remain an important part of the Dunedin family. Philip remains a key advisor on the recording strategy and Susan Hamilton will remain very much part of our very distinguished pool of artists.
I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone that has supported Dunedin. We would not have been able to achieve what we have without your help. We are fully committed to developing an excellent music company for Scotland and are positive that these plans, with your support, will help us achieve our goals.
Sir Muir Russell - Chairman of the Board of Directors