Prom 71 – Bach Night – The Times Review

Neil Fisher, The Times

★★★★

[Butt’s] lively tempos produced plenty of lithe, energetic playing, and enough body in the strings to bring the music out into the vastness of the space.

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Prom 71 – Bach Night – Classical Source Review

Andrew Neill, Classical Source

The Consort, with a strength for the Royal Albert Hall of over forty, provided a glorious, rounded, sound without compromising leanness.

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Prom 71 – Bach Night – Seen and Heard International Review

Agnes Kory, Seen and Heard International

The oneness of the flutes gave an extraordinary demonstration […] I heard only one while my eyes saw all three. The virtuoso movements of the Bourrées and the final Badinerie are hard enough for one player but three players blending their virtuosity to such extent is mind-blowing.

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Lammermuir Festival – Opening Concert – The Herald

Keith Brown, The Herald

★★★★

[Dunedin Consort] play baroque music with a vivacity few can match.

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Lammermuir Festival – Opening Concert – The Times Review

Simon Thompson, The Times

★★★★★

John Butt conducts Bach’s eternal masterpieces as though the music were the elixir of life. Silky strings, spicy winds and raucous horns gave the music a colour that any baroque ensemble would envy, and Cecilia Bernardini’s violin solo in two Vivaldi concertos flowed in and out of the ensemble with organic flexibility.

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Lammermuir Festival – Prestongrange Church – The Scotsman Review

Ken Walton, The Scotsman

★★★★★

Joy, passion and precision… it was as though Butt and his players were rediscovering this well-known music afresh all over again, and taking their listeners with them

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Lammermuir Festival – The Telegraph Review

Rupert Christiansen, Ivan Hewett, John Allison & David Kettle, The Telegraph

★★★★★

Dunedin Consort’s four-concert survey of Bach and Vivaldi might have seemed like a safe choice, but they imbued their playing with such wild energy and variety that it was anything but.

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Bach Harpsichord Concertos – Edinburgh International Festival – Scotsman Review

Susan Nickalls, The Scotsman
★★★★★

To hear Bach played on an instrument from the world-class collection at St Cecilia’s Hall offers a privileged glimpse into how the composer’s music might have sounded at the time.
…Suzuki’s hands moved seamlessly between the two manuals adding to the drama of this richly scored work. The accompanying period instruments produced a lively orchestral sound centred around the dynamic viola interactions with the harpsichord.

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Scotsman Interview

Interview with Chief Executive Jo Buckley in The Scotsman.

The ensemble is thinking big according to new chief executive Jo Buckley, who is honest enough to suggest that the 2018 scare “was actually one of the best things that happened to us.” Whereas two years ago Dunedin were playing around 25 concerts a year, there will be 40 performances this season. “We’re not just back to where we were, but the scale of activity has increased enormously,” says Buckley.

The new season brochure says it all. On the cover, a flautist plays precariously on top of Salisbury Crags. Elsewhere violinist Sarah Bevan-Baker is pictured jetting off Calton Hill like Superwoman. Stephan Farr attempts to stem the Atlantic waves at Calgary Bay on Mull, Canute-style, with a part-submerged harpsichord.

Bach Harpsichord Concertos 5 – Edinburgh International Festival – The Scotsman

Carol Main, The Scotsman
★★★★

Possibly, for a concerto soloist, the only thing worse than breaking your glasses just before heading to the platform, is finding out that the glue used to fix them hasn’t worked.

Even in the face of such adversity, the show went on at St Cecilia’s Hall on Tuesday with harpsichordist Richard Egarr valiantly leading instrumentalists of the Dunedin Consort from the solo seat in Bach’s Keyboard Concerto in E major.

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Bach Harpsichord Concertos 1 – Edinburgh International Festival – The Scotsman

Ken Walton, The Scotsman
★★★★

Is there a venue more perfect for this 5-concert series of Bach’s Keyboard Concertos than the intimate 18th century St Cecila’s Hall?

Required to top it off are musicians and performances of equal calibre, which is what began to emerge as duelling harpsichordists Mahan Esfahani and Aapo Häkkinen, along with with members of the Dunedin Consort, opened the series with Bach’s solo Concerto in D and Double Concerto in C minor.

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Bach Harpsichord Concertos 2 – Edinburgh International Festival – The Scotsman

Ken Walton, The Scotsman
★★★★

The “new” material, he added, came from a 1726 cantata bearing the same theme, so the task was to do “what Bach would have done” and “turn it into a harpsichord concerto”. The result was largely convincing, strangely scored (by Bach) for supporting oboe, strings and continuo, but distinctive in this performance for the deliciously ripe oboe playing of Jasu Moisio.

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Bach Harpsichord Concertos 4 – Edinburgh International Festival – The Scotsman

Susan Nickalls, The Scotsman
★★★★

The tonal blend of the two instruments was perfect with Schornsheim’s sharper articulation adding brightness in the quicker movements…Schornsheim gave a lively account of the mercurial prelude from the English Suite No 4 in F major followed by the Keyboard Concerto in F minor. This featured a bed of soft pizzicato strings in the slow movement and there was a witty series of echoes in the presto, similar to the echo aria in Bach’s Christmas Oratorio.

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Bach’s Multiple Concertos – Edinburgh International Festival – The Arts Desk

David Nice, The Arts Desk
★★★★

You had to wait for the four to come to the fore – or for one of them, in the case of the Fifth Brandenburg Concerto, where Egarr eventually went wild in his first-movement cadenza. He also charmingly introduced the arrangement of the Italian Concerto as essentially for two players, with the other two “jamming” in a Graingeresque “dishing up”. It was a delight

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Bach Harpsichord Concertos – Edinburgh International Festival – The Times

Simon Thompson, The Times
★★★

This first concert in the series started as they mean to go on: the Dunedin musicians play on instruments from Bach’s time, and the pair of harpsichords, both from 1755, come from St Cecilia’s remarkable collection of historical instruments. What’s not to like?

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