REVIEWS AND TESTIMONIALS
'A hugely gifted ensemble of the younger generation, the chemistry between the five young players is magical, the maturity and sensitivity of their playing is a delight!'
Paul Patterson - composer
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'Bright performances of deliciously dark fairy tales and macabre verses by Roald Dahl. Clever quotations and musical onomatopoeia aplenty. * * * * '
BBC Music Magazine
[...] 'The Magnard Ensemble play all three pieces with infectious charm, and investing the music with a wide range of colours and making something really engaging. Rebecca Kenny is the characterful narrator, really drawing us into the stories and displaying a wide range of voices. There are no texts, but you certainly don't need any with Kenny's clarity of diction.
[...] highly recommended, particularly in the infectious performances from the Magnard Ensemble.'
Robert Hugill, Planet Hugill - full review here
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'Throughout the CD, narrator Rebecca Kenny's storytelling sparkles, with the inflections of her voice and timing with the instruments never once faltering. The instrumentalists are dynamic, funny, energetic, and full of character, yet combine this glorious sense of fun with impeccable tuning and ensemble.
While the compositions are sensitively crafted to blend with and support the narrative, the musicians strike a happy balance between accompanying the text and adding to it, resulting in optimum enjoyment of both music and narration.
This is a truly unique recording that bridges the gap between a music CD and an audio book, and that I would recommend to a wide variety of listeners, from children to Roald Dahl enthusiasts to someone looking for chamber music with a twist.'
Fatima Lahham, ReVoice magazine - full review here
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[...] 'This was a delightful concert performed by a hugely talented group whose infectious enthusiasm for music came across in every item in this well-planned programme.'
Clive Walkley, Westmorland Gazette - full review here
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[...] 'The very well balanced programme [...] allowed the quintet to range forward and back in time through a very enjoyable twentieth century selection. It brought out their outstanding individual skills as well as their brilliant ensemble playing, introducing different moods and textures with intimate mutual understanding.'
Douglas Paton, Kirkcaldy Music Society - full review here
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'The whole school from Reception to Year Six were mesmerised by ... and enjoyed the performance thoroughly. In their feedback the children said they were inspired to take up instruments, were inspired to practise and had been introduced to instruments they hadn’t seen before. Teachers and children commented on the high quality of the acting and playing.'
'The performers were excellent with the children in the workshops. They were incredibly positive and supportive of the children.'
'Fantastic! All the children were gripped. Really good idea to do a mixture of acting/playing/introducing instruments. Ensemble members were really great with children too.'
'Accessible and child-friendly!'
Feedback from various education projects
'I have nothing but praise for the playing, and the choice of music was inspired.'
[...] 'Not all folk music is necessarily sung, but these players [...] made a physical connection between their breath and the anonymous singers whose melodies were at the heart of the now abstract compositions we heard. The music was borne aloft by wonderfully sustained sung lines, a quality that instrumental musicians may sometimes aspire to, but which is so rarely achieved, and certainly not as it was so consistently by these players.'
[...] 'The Magnards exchanged the roles of soloist and team player with consummate ease.'
[...] 'The playing of these taxing miniatures was impeccably controlled; long lines floated in mid-air by invisible thread, percussive scrunches left the ears tingling. The idea of preceding these with the quintet by Szervansky, also based on Hungarian folk music, meant that the listener was already attuned to the idiom, and Ligeti, who can be daunting at the best of times, now resounded with seemingly familiar echoes, as if he was quoting nursery rhymes, not treating us to the furthest reaches of musical modernism.'
[...] 'The concert was brought to a thrilling conclusion with a performance of Paul Patterson’s Westerly Winds, with the composer in the audience.'
Timothy Wilcox, Nicholas Yonge Society - full review here
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[...] 'Their joy is infectious. From their spirited start in Ligeti’s ‘Six Bagatelles’ to their exuberant finale, Paul Patterson’s ‘Westerly Winds’, the mix of tight ensemble and solo virtuosity was musical delight.'
Andrew Connal, The Latest - full review here
[...] 'The ensemble maintained a beautifully blended sound yet each separate line could be easily heard apart from the others in a dichotomy that could only be explained by hearing the group firsthand. Just when the audience thought the ensemble couldn’t get any more full, they did, gracefully growing and tapering together in a musical ballet and resolving in a lush final chord.'
Katie Salvatore, Chichester Observer - full review here
[...] 'You really are a splendid ensemble that deserves to do well as you push the boundaries of the wind quintet repertoire. The diversity of your programme was welcomed by all and even many of those who might normally struggle with 20th century repertoire commented on how engaged they were in the Ligeti as a result of the youthful enthusiasm and commitment that you all displayed.'
Paul Tosswill, Welwyn Garden Concert Club
[...] 'Such stretches are easy on the ear, thanks in large part to the soulful playing of this wonderful, youthful British group.'
Peter Burwasser, Fanfare Magazine, reviewing 'Dodgson, Chamber Music for Winds II'