Published: 27th February 2016
We were delighted to be the featured artists on this Sunday’s ‘Early Music Late’ on BBC Radio 3: our concert of music by William Byrd and his contemporaries, recorded at last June’s Rheinvokal Festival, was broadcast and is now available on Iplayer.
If you’d like to listen again, just click on the link below!
Published: 9th January 2016
Looking back to the end of 2015, we undertook our first major UK tour, bringing our ‘Christmas with the Shepherds’ programme to audiences in Perthshire, Edinburgh, York, Oxford, Canterbury, West Somerset and London over the course of just under two weeks in December. Despite the best efforts of the weather and ensuing road and rail difficulties (not to mention a plastic bag on an overhead line!), we managed to make it to all of our intended destinations, and were met with wonderfully warm responses from friendly and welcoming audiences (some a little too warm, as an audience member fainted during one performance due to the heat of having so many people packed into the church!).
The Sunday Times’s Paul Driver attended our final concert of the tour, our debut at the Spitalfields Winter Festival in St Leonard’s Shoreditch, and had the following to say:
‘McCleery, a countertenor and academic as well as conductor, introduced the items with a lucidity combining boyish geniality with quite startling erudition … I felt a door was being opened on this historical period, and it was the very door of St Leonard’s. The singers were marvellous. Highlights were the opening Marian antiphon by Victoria, and his six-part Quem vidistis, pastores?, its imitative structure emerging with the most sublime clarity.’
Published: 13th May 2014
We were delighted to make our German debut with a concert at the Leipzig A Cappella Festival on Sunday – the Festival, run by the German ensemble Amarcord, was a fantastic place for our first concert in the country, as we were wonderfully well looked after and performed our ‘An Emerald in a Work of Gold’ programme to an attentive and enthusiastic audience.
The concert was recorded by Deutschlandfunk Radio and will be broadcast, along with an interview with Rory, in the Autumn – we’ll post details here on the website nearer the time.
In the meantime, you can read a review of the concert here – we’ll be performing in Germany several times in 2015, and with such an enjoyable first experience, we can’t wait to go back!
Published: 10th February 2014
After a spate of lovely reviews of our most recent CD release, of music by the French Renaissance polyphonist Jean Maillard, before Christmas, including a very nice one in the December edition of Gramophone Magazine, another has appeared in the latest issue of Choir and Organ. Rebecca Tavener wrote:
‘The pioneering Marian Consort presents the first disc completely dedicated to this musical man of mystery with their characteristic delicacy of phrasing and excellent ensemble, and I was delighted to find the gorgeous five-part Marian motet Omnes gentes attendite, formerly assumed to be Scottish.’
Gramophone was equally complimentary:
‘They show the precision and pellucid textures we have come to expect…this is no-nonsense musicianship, but for all that thoroughly musical.’
As with all of our CDs, the disc is available from us on the ‘recordings’ page of our website.
Published: 5th November 2013
There have been some lovely reviews of our performance in Brighton on Sunday (3rd November) as part of this year’s Brighton Early Music Festival: we were performing with actor Finbar Lynch in ‘Breaking the Rules’, a newly-devised dramatic piece examining the life of the notorious composer Carlo Gesualdo, the anniversary of whose death falls this year.
The Brighton Argus reviewer seemed particularly taken with us: ‘Every bit as arresting as they are transcendent, the modest forces of the Marian Consort filled the air with harmonies that bloomed one from another, their particular skill being an intonation so precise that single notes sounded at first like natural harmonics before gathering a more palpable force. Here was music sung with heavenly perfection’.
To read all of this review, click here.
Robert Hugill’s review commented that ‘The Marian Consort sang Gesualdo’s music as if it was their natural mode of expression, making his difficult chromaticisms seem easy and natural. They sang in the English manner, with a lovely clean sense of line and fabulously secure pitch, but certainly with a feeling for the drama of the music.’
To read all of this review, click here.
Published: 7th October 2013
There was a very nice review of our latest CD release in last Thursday’s Guardian, where Andrew Clements awarded the disc four stars, commenting that ‘The performances are models of discretion and musical taste, every texture clear, every phrase beautifully shaped.’
The CD is available for purchase here on our website, or from all good CD retailers.
Published: 30th September 2013
We’re delighted that our latest CD, of music by the little-known but wonderful Parisian Renaissance composer Jean Maillard, has been awarded four stars by Richard Morrison in the Times. In his review, Morrison praised the ‘beautifully smooth polyphony’ and ‘pellucid clarity’ of the performance.
The disc, which features Maillard’s beautiful Missa Je suis déshéritée, based on a chanson by Pierre Cadeac, alongside a selection of his motets, is on sale in record shops, online, and from our website from today.
Published: 5th July 2013
After a fruitful day of rehearsals on our Purcell and contemporaries programme for our concert in Edinburgh on Sunday, it was a lovely surprise to see a review of ‘An Emerald in a Work of Gold’ from the Church Times, forwarded to us by the good people at Delphian Records.
Roger Judd comments that “listening to this CD was an unalloyed joy for me from start to finish. The seven singers of the Marian Consort, one of whom is their director, Rory McCleery, sing with great finesse and ensemble. I could wax lyrical about just about every track, but i’ll spare you that. Instead, go out and buy the CD for yourself’.”
High praise indeed!
Published: 6th March 2013
Another very nice review of ‘An Emerald in a Work of Gold – Music from the Dow Partbooks’, this time from International Record Review: Robert Levett praises ‘the second release from the superb Marian Consort…Performances are uniformly excellent, the Marian Consort’s rich, sweet timbre, immaculate tuning and clear diction – just listen to Robert Parsons’s Ave Maria, which ends the recording – complemented by the Rose Consort’s own gloriously rich yet transparent sound. Soprano Emma Walshe’s dulcet stratospherics are equally impressive in Tallis’s O salutaris hostia, floating high above the viol consort.’
The disc is available in all good record stores, and from the ‘Recordings’ page here on our website.
"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."
"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."
"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 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."
"Singing one person to a part, the Marian Consort give sublimely refined, spacious and impeccably tuned performances."
"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."
"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."
"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."