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.

Radio Broadcast of Rheinvokal Concert

Published: 10th November 2015

We’re delighted that our concert from the 2015 Rheinvokal Festival back in June, which was broadcast on SWR2 in Germany on November 1st, is now available to listen to online by clicking here. We performed our ‘Singing in Secret’ programme, featuring music by William Byrd and his contemporaries, in the amazing St. Severus church in Boppard. Appropriately, the November 1st broadcast coincided with the Feast of All Saints, as our programme contained Byrd’s magnificent Propers for All Saints from  Gradualia, including the well-known Justorum Animae.

We’re very pleased to be returning to Germany in Autumn 2016 to perform ‘Singing in Secret’, along with Thomas Tallis’ monumental 40-part motet Spem in Alium: more information about this will be available in the new year!

Switzerland – Day 5

Published: 20th October 2015

2015-10-18 17.00.09Although the weather didn’t look terribly promising on the morning of our final Swiss concert, we still ventured out into Lucerne for a walk and a spot of lunch, before heading to the Marianischer Saal to rehearse for our early evening concert. The hall, at the top of an old Jesuit meeting house, is quite spectacular, as were the views from our dressing room (see right!). Our concert was the first of the 20th Anniversary chamber music series, so we were treated to a drinks reception, at which we were able to meet and chat to many of our audience. They were a wonderfully friendly and enthusiastic group, and it was a lovely way to round off our Swiss debut!

Switzerland – Day 4

Published: 20th October 2015

2015-10-17 14.44.49After an invigorating cycle round Kartause Ittingen and a hearty organic breakfast (which featured some delicious local strawberry juice!) we set off for Einsiedeln and our fourth concert of the tour. The views from the train window on our way up to the town were quite spectacular, and our concert venue, the Grosser Saal of the Kloster Einsiedeln, which we were told was similarly arresting, did not disappoint! The concert finished with a mad dash back down the hill to the station to catch our train to Lucerne (which we made with whole seconds to spare!) and on arrival we were treated to a delicious dinner at the home of Gerhard Pawlica, organiser of the chamber music series at the Marianischer Saal, before heading to our hotel for some well-earned sleep!

Switzerland – (Birth!)Day 3

Published: 19th October 2015

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After a leisurely breakfast and a trip to the chocolate shop in the square, we set off from Zofingen for Ittingen – this journey involved four changes, with two trains, a bus and eventually a minibus coming to collect us from a deserted Swiss roadside! The travel was worth it, though: Kartause Ittingen is an incredibly beautiful and peaceful place, brimming with culture and fantastic organic food, all grown or reared on site. After rehearsal we were treated to dinner in the Kartause restaurant by Ursula Jones, our tour organiser, sponsor and irrepressible force of nature! (pictured right, with Guy and Ed) We then performed to a wonderfully receptive audience, before celebrating Emma’s birthday with a cake (preceded by some ridiculous distraction techniques to keep her occupied while the candles were lit!) in the green room and some well-deserved local beer: brewed on site, of course!

Switzerland – Day 2

Published: 16th October 2015

2015-10-15 10.53.59This morningAlass Zofingen we were taken to the Stiftsbibliothek St Gallen, where a private viewing of the Tchudi Liederbuch had been arranged. It was amazing to see the music we are performing in Tschudi’s own beautifully neat hand, with lots of annotations in the margins of almost every piece! No photos were allowed in the viewing room, or sadly in the amazing eighteenth-century Rococo library hall, but we did get a snap of the enormous over-shoe slippers that are mandatory footwear when visiting, to preserve the painstakingly-restored wooden floors!

Then on to Zofingen, for our concert in a converted cinema – the Alass has a fantastically intimate, relaxed atmosphere, very different to yesterday’s venue (but both equally wonderful!), which allowed us to bring out the more chamber-music-like aspects of our programme, and it was great to chat with the audience at the reception afterwards, with some Swiss wine, sausage and cheese in hand!

Switzerland – Day 1

Published: 15th October 2015

IMAG0875IMG_-lefqatAfter 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!

CD Reviews!

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…)

Concert for Rheinvokal Festival

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.


Wonderful Reviews of ‘Christmas With the Shepherds’

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!


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

The Sunday Times

"The performances are models of discretion and musical taste, every texture clear, every phrase beautifully shaped."

The Gaurdian

"'performances are always vibrant and perfectly tuned’"

The Times

"There is an alluring, sometimes intoxicating equilibrium about this disc, regulated by the pure-toned intimacy and blend of Rory McCleery’s fine ensemble."

The Scotsman

"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

"This is no-nonsense musicianship, but for all that thoroughly musical ... The unfussy performance helps the music enormously."


"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

"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