Published: 15th October 2015
After a wonderfully intimate private concert for our Friends and supporters in London on Tuesday evening, we set off bright and early from Heathrow yesterday for Zurich, heading to St Gallen and the first of 5 Swiss performances this week. What an incredible way to start a tour! The cathedral in St Gallen is magnificent, and the beautifully warm acoustic was just right for our mixed Renaissance and Baroque programme, which also included our new commission from Matthew Martin, ‘Ave Virgo Sanctissima’. It’s no surprise that the music fit the building perfectly, as much of our programme is taken from the Tschudi Liederbuch, a manuscript music collection housed in the Cathedral’s library, which we’re being given a private viewing of this morning!
Published: 7th August 2015
After a wonderful few months of concerts across the UK and Europe, including our debuts at the St Magnus International Festival in Orkney and for the Tage Alter Musik Regensburg, where we gave a late-night performance of our ‘An Emerald in a Work of Gold’ programme with the Rose Consort of Viols to an appreciative audience of nearly 1,000, we’re now looking ahead to a busy season of Autumn and Winter concerts.
In the meantime, we’re delighted to see two new CD reviews, one of our 2014 ‘Christmas with the Shepherds’ release and another of our upcoming ‘Loquebantur – Music from the Baldwin Partbooks’, which is released in early October. (more…)
Published: 1st July 2015
We’re delighted to have spent the weekend in the wonderful German town of Boppard, making our debut at the Rheinvokal Festival. As well as visiting ‘the bendiest bend in the Rhine’, we performed our programme ‘Singing in Secret’, including music by William Byrd and his contemporaries. The concert was recorded and will be broadcast on German radio on November 1st, a singularly appropriate date, as among the works by Byrd featured were his ‘Propers for All Saints’ from the 1605 Gradualia collection.
In advance of the radio broadcast, you can listen to an extract from the concert by visiting our homepage.
Published: 10th December 2014
The first reviews of our latest disc, ‘Christmas with the Shepherds’, a collection of Festive music from Renaissance Rome by Jean Mouton, Cristobal de Morales and Annibale Stabile, are in: BBC Music Magazine gave the CD 4 and 5 stars, praising the ‘pleasing feeling for euphonious balances and forward momentum’ and commenting that ‘the works are mellifluously performed here by the seven members of the youthful Marian Consort, who shape the sinuous polyphony with winning pliability.’
Early Music Review calls the disc ‘another scholarly and musically superb disc, with a Christmas flavour – although fare of this quality deserves all-year delectation! Tuning and blend are exemplary, and tempi are well-judged to allow the glorious contrapuntal and antiphonal textures to glow. Recordings like this should be the basis of any serious music collection – go forth and get!’
Should you wish to follow this advice, copies are available here on our website on the recordings page!
Published: 23rd October 2014
In advance of our appearance at the wonderful St Andrew’s Voices Festival this Friday, Kate Molleson has written a lovely piece which appeared in the Herald last week, and can be viewed online here: she chatted with Rory about the group’s origins and its trademark sound and repertoire, including the exciting Scottish premiere of two works by Jonathan Harvey in St Andrew’s. We hope to see you there!
Published: 20th September 2014
We’re delighted that our recording label, Delphian Records, has been awarded the Gramophone Label of the Year at this year’s Gramophone Awards. The announcement was made at the 2014 awards ceremony, which took place on September 17th in St John’s Smith Square in London, and was attended by The Marian Consort’s director, Rory (pictured below holding the award). We’re going ‘into the studio’ (actually the chapel!) for our next recording with Delphian in January 2015, and our most recent release, Christmas with the Shepherds, will be available from the end of this month.
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.
"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."