CD (Colin Currie Records) “Drumming”

★★★★★

“This performance from the Colin Currie Group, is thunderously exciting. It zips through in 55 minutes — a timing easily possible if the option is taken to curtail some repeating measures. The recording, too, thrusts us right into the action as Currie and colleagues thwack and tinkle at varying speeds on bongo drums, glockenspiels and marimbas, with friendly support from a wheeling piccolo and the whistling and vocalise of Synergy Vocals.”

The Times (Geoff Brown)

 

★★★★☆

“The percussionists and the wordless voices of Synergy Vocals alike come across with a vivid presence.”

Financial Times (Richard Fairman)

 

“These guys have a pedigree with this unfathomably difficult score and their fresh, slick recording shows it. Handling of the overlapping of Reich’s 12 beat pattern – polyrhythmic as each of the nine percussionists, two vocalists, piccolo player and whistler shimmy on to their own individual down-beat – is rock solid. A Drumming for this decade – and probably a few to come, too.”

Gramophone (Andrew Mellor)

 

Royal Festival Hall, London

Gavin Bryars The Sinking of the Titanic / Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me

Steve Reich  Music for 18 Musicians
London Philharmonic Orchestra directed by Micaela Haslam

March 2017

 

Bryars: “The performance was deeply moving, the London Philharmonic totally engaged, under the direction of Micaela Haslam”

Reich:  “Music for 18 Musicians expanded with glorious clarity and élan and commitment as we were taken on a breathtaking journey of pulses and patterns”

Classical Source (Amanda-Jane Doran)

 

Bryars: “gently evocative under Micaela Haslam’s direction”

Reich:  “… a piece that used to be the exclusive preserve of bespoke ensembles … here, 14 LPO instrumentalists, together with four members of Synergy Vocals, showed that it could become the repertory work it deserves to be.  This was a performance of tremendous concentration and sustained energy”

The Guardian (Andrew Clements)

CD (Delphian Records) “Since It Was The Day Of Preparation …”

James MacMillan  Since It Was The Day of Preparation…
Hebrides Ensemble with Brindley Sherratt

June 2016

 

“The text is delivered by a quintet of solo voices, which, especially when sung with such delicious clarity as Synergy Vocals here, creates a wonderfully transparent quality.  Brindley Sherratt is the superbly resonant bass who sings the words of Christ, but tenor Benedict Hymas deserves special mention for his enchanting delivery of the opening verses of the text… These performers (have) developed a real affinity for (the piece) and this informs every moment of this intensely moving performance.”

Gramophone (Marc Rochester)

 

“Central to its efficacy is the outstanding quintet of vocal soloists.  Tenor Benedict Hymas of Synergy Vocals sets the bar high in his unaccompanied opening monologue, voicing the melismata with rare fluidity and a patient expressivity which compels the listener’s attention. Since it was the Day of Preparation… in this wonderfully committed recording already feels like a modern masterpiece.”

BBC Music Magazine

 

“(This performance) must be regarded as definitive for here we have the artists who first performed the score, recorded in the presence of the composer.  Brindley Sherratt is very fine as Christ.  The music he has to sing is dignified and eloquent and Sherratt puts it across with great conviction.  No less impressive are the four members of Synergy Vocals, whether singing as a consort or individually.  All four voices are clear, both in terms of tone and diction, they are ideally suited to the music.  Since it was the Day of Preparation… is a notable score and this accomplished and committed first recording serves it admirably and should bring the work to the wider audience it deserves.”

MusicWeb International

 

“This is a long and taxing work, MacMillan’s highly personal writing is profoundly effective for the forces for whom he is writing, but this does presuppose that the performers are at the peak of their game. The members of Synergy Vocals and of the Hebrides Ensemble all form superb ensembles, playing and singing with chamber finesse yet each stands out superbly when called upon.”

Planet Hugill

Royal Festival Hall, London

Steve Reich  Music for 18 Musicians
Colin Currie Group (rehearsal director Micaela Haslam)

May 2016

“Particularly impressive was the staccato of Synergy Vocals, but the standard was so high that it is difficult to zero-in on any one performer for praise”

Classicalsource.com

 

*****

By Mark Thomas, 25 May 2016

“Minimalism with maximum impact: luminous Reich

As a composer, it must be comforting to know that there are groups of musicians who specialise in your music. This is certainly the case for Steve Reich. Two of his close collaborators, the Colin Currie Group and Synergy Vocals, teamed up to produce a scintillating and masterful performance of (his) great masterpiece, Music for 18 Musicians. This landmark piece requires heavy concentration and stamina from the performers. The combined forces of the Colin Currie Group and Synergy Vocals produced an authoritative and quite exceptional performance. The togetherness of the extended ensemble was apparent, with the pure, non-vibrato voices complementing perfectly the luminous textures created by the instrumentalists. The ensemble tackled the complex interactions between the various lines and the underlying harmonies with fluidity and panache, but, above all, created iridescent tones and a transcendental sheen. But the true revelation here is how such a structured, mechanistic approach can somehow create excitement and heightened emotions of joy and redemption. It is a bizarre conundrum, but it works, and, when performed in such superb style by these two ensembles, it is incredibly powerful.”

Bachtrack

Barbican, London

Louis Andriessen  La Commedia
BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Martyn Brabbins

February 2016

 

“joyous, uplifting experience”

The Guardian

 

“eight amplified voices – the excellent Synergy Vocals”

Financial Times

 

“Synergy Vocals was securely integrated into the musical texture”

Classical Source