Newbury Festival/Breaking the Rules Launch

Published: 3rd March 2016

We were invited to give a sneak preview of our exciting ‘Breaking the Rules’ project at the launch of this year’s Newbury Spring Festival this week: the launch took place in the Royal Box at Newbury Racecourse (fitting for music written by a Prince and heard by Dukes and ladies!), and was a wonderful opportunity to also launch our Breaking the Rules tour, which will begin at the Festival on May 19th, and run until November 2016.

Here’s The Marian Consort post-performance, along with Clare Norburn, the writer of Breaking the Rules, and representatives of Newbury Spring Festival (excellent reception cake and coffee out of shot!)


Bending the Rules for BBC Radio 3

Published: 10th November 2015

free-thinking-logoThe Marian Consort featured as part of BBC Radio 3’s line-up for the 2015 Free Thinking: Festival of Ideas in Gateshead this weekend, performing in the wonderful acoustic of St Mary’s Heritage Centre. The concert we gave was recorded for the Early Music Show and took as its theme ‘Bending the Rules’, featuring works by Carlo Gesualdo, Jacob Handl, Giaches de Wert, Luzzasco Luzzaschi and William Byrd, with Rory discussing the music with presenter Lucie Skeaping.

The concert is now available on BBC Iplayer Radio and can be listened to by clicking here.

If you’d like to hear more Gesualdo, The Marian Consort will be performing his music throughout the UK in 2016: for more information, please visit our Concerts page.


"Singing one person to a part, the Marian Consort give sublimely refined, spacious and impeccably tuned performances."

The Sunday Times

"The singers perform with a yearning intensity which is just exquisite."


"Exemplary one-to-a-part performances ... the singing is as impassioned as it is effortlessly elegant."

BBC Music Magazine

"The Marian Consort has built an enviable reputation for coolly poised and precisely balanced performances and indeed there are times here when the listener can only sit back and admire, seduced by the sheer beauty of sound."

Early Music Today

"There’s earnest beauty in it and the instrumental playing on this recording is spot on – the Berkeley Ensemble under David Wordsworth clinches the balance of chaste, plaintive and urgent."

The Gaurdian

"You are left in no doubt of the agony of the crucifixion in the vocal and horn climax of the opening chorus of Stabat Mater ... intense and riveting."

The Times

"The Marian Consort’s performances deliver full value in terms of expressive range and sophistication. Pitch-perfect tuning and immaculately clean ensemble … add further to the attractions of this eminently listenable recital."

BBC Music Magazine

"The Marian Consort’s background in early music pays dividends in their superb precision of pitch, impeccable rhythmic placing and beautiful diction … the lush harmonies that open [Judica me] are sumptuously delivered and beautifully recorded."


"Little is known about the 16th-century composer, except that his beautifully smooth polyphony was much admired ... As revealed with pellucid clarity by Rory McCleery’s young Marian Consort on this first recording devoted exclusively to Maillard, he was a subtly expressive composer."

The Times

"With two women in the group, they make no pretence at emulating what might have happened in the 16th century; but that lets them sing out with more freedom. So this is no-nonsense musicianship, but for all that thoroughly musical ... The unfussy performance helps the music enormously."


"The motets are more adventurous, declamatory and cleverly nuanced, with a recognisable house style. The Marian Consort produces a very pleasing sound."

Early Music Today

"The most striking feature of this entertainingly varied collection is the consistently fresh, fruit-ripe tonal quality of the Marian Consort's singing … poised and flexible, the text responded to with notable insight and maturity."

BBC Music Magazine