English Motets makes Bestenliste

The Gesualdo Six’s debut album, English Motets, has been selected as the Critics’ Choice by the jury of the German Record Critics’ Award. The ‘Bestenliste’, released quarterly, nominates new releases “which merit special attention, either for the quality of interpretation or creativity, or for their value to the repertoire.”

Member of the jury, Susanne Benda, praised the disc for its “richly detailed colour scheme”, “virtuosity” and “vitality”.

The German Record Critics’ Award (“Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik”) was established in 1980 to set the ‘most rigorous standards for supreme achievement and quality’ in the field of music recording. These lists provide a candid picture of new releases of outstanding importance judged on purely artistic grounds.

Annual Awards (‘Jahrespreise’) are presented to as many as 15 outstanding productions, and Certificates of Special Merit (‘Ehrenurkunden’) are awarded to three artists and producers for lifetime achievement in recording.

This quarter’s Bestenliste is available to view here: https://www.schallplattenkritik.de/bestenlisten/987-bestenliste-3-2018

“Nicht jedes britische Vokalensemble, das sich der Chorpolyphonie der englischen Renaissance widmet, muss dies auf möglichst vibratoarme und gleichmäßig-lineare Weise tun. Die jungen Herren des Vokalsextetts The Gesualdo Six hebeln diese landläufige Vorstellung mit ihrem Debüt-Album auf erfrischend virtuose Weise aus. Und sie krönen ihren oftmals unpuristisch ausdrucksmutigen Zugriff durch die Tatsache, dass sie eigentlich ein siebenköpfiges Ensemble bilden – denn der bewährte Chorleiter Owain Park, der sie coacht, singt zuweilen mit. Thematisch geht es um Gott und Welt in den ausgewählten Werken aus der erweiterten Tudorzeit. Dabei durchschreiten die Hörer ein auch klangfarblich detailreich durchgestaltetes, vitales, nie konstruiert wirkendes musikalisches Universum.” (Für die Jury: Susanne Benda)

★★★★★ Telegraph Review

The Daily Telegraph | April 2018

★★★★★ Spellbound by a medley of mighty motets

“The genre [motets] flourished mightily in England, as it did all over Europe, and Owain Park, the director of young vocal group The Gesualdo Six has set out to represent the English kind in all its variety.

“It’s an ambitious aim for a single CD – but Park pulls it off. The blend and tuning of the voices is so fine that the group achieves a powerfully full sound.

“The sheer beauty of the group’s sound in lofty high-Renaissance style pieces like Byrd’s Miserere is spellbinding. The fine-grained texture of solo voices allows us to savour the amazing harmonic pungency of English sacred music, which at times seems almost modernist. It is a wonderful achievement.”

The original article by Ivan Hewett appeared in The Daily Telegraph Review, on Saturday 21 April 2018.

Review of German debut

We’re grateful to Andrew Benson-Wilson for writing this review of our first concert in Germany, given as part of Tage Alter Musik Regensburg in June 2017.

“The late night (10.45pm) concert in the Schottenkirche St. Jakob (with its extraordinary sculptures) was given by the young British a cappella vocal group The Gesualdo Six, directed by Owain Park, making their German debut with their programme Journey through the Music of the English Masters. With composers ranging from Dunstable to Tomkins they explored some of the finest music ever produced from the British Isles in a well-balanced and varied programme. They were particularly good at the distinctively English false relations heard in Taverner’s Quemadmodum and Loquebantur from Tallis, the master of such scrunchy harmonic twists and turns. His cadence on Alleluia must be amongst the most beautiful in the history of music, almost equalled by the final cadence of his Suscipe quaeso Domine. These pieces were contrasted by the relative simplicity of Sheppard’s Libera nos II and White’s Christe, qui lux es et dies. The emotional intensity and changes in volume in, for example, Byrd’s Vigilate, were well handled, sounding completely natural to the music. The two countertenors, Guy James and Alex Chance were very impressive. The audience response was particularly enthusiastic, and rightly so.”

Read the complete review of the festival here: https://andrewbensonwilson.org/2017/07/12/regensburg2017/