Handel Ode for St Cecilia’s Day — Gramophone Review

Richard Wigmore, Gramphone

[Carolyn Sampson’s] poised, invariably graceful contributions are among the disc’s prime pleasures: from her radiant sense of wonder in the sarabande aria ‘What passion cannot music raise and quell!’, in dialogue with Jonathan Manson’s musingly eloquent cello; through the wistful ‘The soft complaining flute’, where Sampson veils her naturally bright tone (a word, too, for Katy Bircher’s poetic flute-playing); to the scintillating coloratura of her final hornpipe aria…

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Handel Ode for St Cecilia’s Day — AllMusic Review

All Music by Blair Sanderson

Such sunny numbers as the chorus, ‘From Harmony’, the tenor’s martial aria, ‘The Trumpet’s Loud Clangour’, and the famous March, with its popular trumpet solo, give a clear indication of the predominantly joyous nature of the Ode. The Concerto Grosso in A minor, Op. 6, No. 4, also composed in 1739, is an elegant filler piece that rounds out the disc, and emulates Handel’s inclusion of concertos and other music in the first performance of the Ode. Linn Records provides a robust and rich sound, and the forward placement of the musicians gives them remarkable presence in this 2018 release.

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Handel Ode for St Cecilia’s Day — Financial Times Review

The Financial Times

Soprano Carolyn Sampson and tenor Ian Bostridge are engaging soloists, Sampson sounding especially luminous. The Polish Radio Choir sings Dryden’s text with impressive clarity and the Dunedin Consort shines in the solo opportunities for cello, trumpet, flute and organ with which Handel hymns music’s sacred spheres.

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Handel Ode for St Cecilia’s Day — Presto Classical Editor’s Choice

Presto Classical, Editor’s Choice

Augmented by the Polish Radio Choir, this full-blooded reading of Handel’s great hymn to the patron saint of music plays out on a larger scale than we’re perhaps used to from Butt and his Dunedin forces, to powerful and frequently moving effect: there’s a sardonic glint behind Bostridge’s apparent paeon to the bellicose effects of martial music, whilst Sampson provides balm with a beautifully fluid account of ‘What passion cannot music raise and quell!’.

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Handel Ode for St Cecilia’s Day — The Sunday Times Review

The Sunday Times, 11 November 2018

Written to celebrate the patron saint of music on November 22, 1739, the Ode for St Cecilia’s Day contains some of Handel’s most affecting work, turning his attentions verse by verse to a particular instrument. Butt’s reading with the Dunedins and the Polish choir has irresistible sweetness, with the tenor Ian Bostridge and the soprano Carolyn Sampson on top form.

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Handel Ode for St Cecilia’s Day — Classical Source Review

Classical Source ★★★★

The Dunedin Consort’s interpretation of Handel’s Ode (setting words by John Dryden that revel in the role of music within the cosmic order) brings the work to life with enthusiasm, charm, and wit…

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Handel Ode for St Cecilia’s Day — The Observer

The Observer

…one of the greatest moments in all of Handel, superbly realised by Carolyn Sampson and the Dunedin Consort under John Butt, working here with the Polish Radio Choir. Ian Bostridge adds his plangent imagination to Dryden’s vivid conjuring of music as the power that raises chaos into harmony, while Sampson’s “What passion cannot music raise and quell” is vividly touching.

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Handel Ode for St Cecilia’s Day — The Scotsman

The Scotsman ★★★★★

Here is a performance that draws every ounce of emotive symbolism and sublime inference from Handel’s poetically refined score. It features John Butt’s excitingly precise Dunedin Consort, whose instrumentalists are idiomatically stylish to the last

…Yet another Baroque tour de force from Butt, who has a simple knack of turning highly informed intelligence and curiosity into performances fired by spontaneous combustion.

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Handel Ode for St Cecilia’s Day — The Herald

The Herald

The work packs a powerful punch in these hands, and nowhere more so than when Bostridge combines with the chorus in the aria hymning “the double, double, double beat/Of the thund’ring drum”.

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Handel Ode for St Cecilia’s Day — Europadisc Review

Europadisc

The eight singers of the Dunedin Consort are reinforced by the twenty members of the excellent Polish Radio Choir, giving the choruses (particularly the exultant closing stanza) plenty of force combined with stylishness and clarity of enunciation. With starring roles for solo cello, trumpet, flute, lute and organ, the Dunedin instrumentalists are at the peak of their form…

Butt’s customarily erudite and detailed notes, and an exceptionally fine recording from Kraków’s Krzysztof Penderecki Hall all add up to make this an unmissable recording. And, with Cecilia-tide fast approaching, what better time to hear it?

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Monteverdi Vespers 1610 – Choir & Organ

Choir & Organ Magazine, March/April 2018 ★★★★★

Not for John Butt the nit-picking over liturgical detail that has bedevilled the study of Monteverdi’s 1610 anthology: swerving that in favour of a concert presentation, concentrating on issues at the heart of the music, he re-examines vexed questions of pitch, tempi, scoring etc with utterly credible, even revelatory results. Vital passion (especially in the concerti), fresh, compelling fervour, luminous clarity and exquisite phrasing flow from ten vocal virtuosi and brilliant instrumentalists. Even if one prefers interpretations with a ripieno choir, it must be conceded that small forces of this quality can pack a knock-out punch – che forza!

Monteverdi Vespers 1610 – Stereophile Recording of the Month

Stereophile Magazine, Recording of the Month – May 2018 ★★★★★

This performance, joyously free of eccentricities, interested only in the honest, beautiful expression of music and texts, is heavenly.

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Monteverdi Vespers recording nominated in 2018 ICMAs

We are delighted to reveal that our Monteverdi Vespers 1610 recording has been nominated in the ‘Best Baroque Vocal’ category at the 2018 International Classical Music Awards.

The Award Ceremony and Gala concert will take place on April 6 2018 in Katowice, hosted by the National Polish Radio Symphony NOSPR.

Read more about the full list of nominees here.

Monteverdi Vespers 1610 – BBC Radio 3 Record Review

BBC Radio 3 Record Review

The standard of solo singing is outstanding, beautifully ornamented.

Monteverdi Vespers 1610 – The Herald review

The Herald

Stripped back performances under John Butt that are fresh and luminous, lithe and alive.

Kate Molleson, Top 20 Classical Albums of 2017