...this disc is a particularly welcome unveiling of four rapturous sacred works, thanks to a happy marriage of scholarship and performance. ...a lush orchestral sound, aptly suggesting the extravagance of Venetian sacred music.
The Dixit opens with the same monumental wall of sound that Monteverdi uses in his Vespers, setting the majestic tone for the disc. ...the superb musicianship on display show Lotti in the best possible light...
Each of these offerings suggests a director in Ben Palmer who has a firm grip on his material: rhythms are propelled with purpose and vitality, and there’s an unyielding quest to uncover the imagery and sensibility of Lotti’s almost cinematic perspectives with graphic immediacy.
This disc is a revelation, in terms of the composer andalso the ability of the performers - full marks!
The middle movement, marked piacevole, is the relevation, shimmering with a new hushed beauty - equally a testament to the lustre frequently achieved by the 16 musicians in Ben Palmer’s Orchestra of St Paul’s, with the violin sections placed antiphonally to the conductor’s left and right. ...the forces may have become enlarged, but there is never any distortion of intent; indeed, the bipolar mix of searing anguish, quiet radiance and Irish reel hits home as never before.
...beautifully light textured playing, with the highest degree of sensitivity with fine hushed moments of strange, otherworldly beauty, perhaps more so than in the original. These players build to moments of fine power and expressiveness before the most exquisite of codas.
This is fiendishly difficult music for a quartet, yet alone a sixteen-strong string ensemble. But the Orchestra of St Paul’s advocate it with an edge of the seat intensity and technical brilliance that contrasts sharply with the ‘health and safety’ approach favoured by today’s ‘A-list’ orchestras. ... Audience engagement is not about superstar conductors, celebrity interviews over lunch at braggable restaurants, cutting through classical websites, or click bait blogs - it is about the kind of music making found on this new CD.
The recording of the whole of the incidental score to Arthur, however, is a real eye-opener. Here Elgar’s detailed and careful score, with its original ‘pit band’ instrumentation, lends the music an intimate sense of authenticity.
...performances under conductors John Wilson and Ben Palmer are persuasive.
...Ben Palmer and his players give it a most skilful and sympathetic performance. This is an important release that all Elgarians must hear.
...brilliant, vivid playing by the 14-strong Orchestra of St Paul’s, conducted by the gifted, original, thoughtful maestro, Ben Palmer.