CD and DVD Reviews
Einojuhani Rautavaara: Choral Music
"From the vibrancy of the very first track, the lively imagination of Rautavaara’s writing for voices, the pungent palette of the Schola Cantorum of Oxford, and the clarity and spatial excitement of this record, are immediately apparent."
"Poetic imagery and textual ambiguities provide strong imaginative sparks for Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara’s choral music, demanding deep engagement with words and their expression in performance. The point is not lost on Burton and his chamber choir; their commitment to the works on this disc is absolute."http://www.classicfm.com/composers/rautavaara/album-reviews/engaging-rautavaara/
J.S. Bach: St Matthew Passion DVD
“Nelson gets to the core of the work with his avuncular didacticism and genial control; and what characterful singing emerges...The last word goes to the fine Schola Cantorum of Oxford...who deliver...true characterisation, tenderness, ardour and an attentiveness to detail which fuels Nelson's rounded and mature vision of the St Matthew”
- Gramophone Magazine, July 2013
“There's a blazing sincerity about this performance that draws in the listener...Gura is a very experienced Bach singer and he's a moving Evangelist who tells the story with real emotional power...The Schola Cantorum of Oxford sings extremely responsively...Nelson brings a rather Romantic spirit to the work, but this never does it any violence.”
- International Record Review, July/August 2013
“It's the overwhelming sincerity that compels, and Nelsons's cast is strong, if pulling in different directions. The star is Lucy Crowe, endlessly radiant...If plushness and incisiveness drive Nelson's vision, then Oxford's Schola Cantorum respond in kind.”
- BBC Music Magazine, July 2013 ****
"It was beautifully executed by the choir...and a delight to hear"
"We could really have done with a whole concert from these splendid young people!"
"The last word goes to the fine Schola Cantorum of Oxford...who deliver...true characterisation, tenderness, ardour and an attentiveness to detail which fuels Nelson's rounded and mature vision of the St Matthew”
"The robust articulation of the players and the alertness of the fresh-voiced Schola Cantorum of Oxford, cunningly paced and integrated by Fischer with the soloists, ensured that this was a creation to remember"
"The contributions (as Berlioz’s ‘Petit choeur’) of Schola Cantorum were marked by outstanding articulation and graceful ensemble"
"An intense unaccompanied recital that oozed musical and emotional commitment from every pore. This was a characteristically fearless, no-nonsense performance, in which conductor James Burton ensured the usual attention to detail in both interpretation and delivery.."
Heaven & Hell LiveFriday event, Ashmolean Museum, February 2015
'My evening started with Schola Cantorum’s stunning performance of vocal settings of Blake’s poetry. An inspired piece of programming placed John Tavener’s setting of ‘The Lamb’ alongside its partner poem from Songs of Experience, ‘The Tyger’, set by the Swedish composer Emil Råberg.'
Read the full review by The Oxford Culture Review here.
Read the review by The Poor Print here.
Inspired by Blake Festival Launch, Sheldonian Theatre, January 2015
'The best thing about today’s launch event at the Sheldonian was the music. Oxford’s Schola Cantorum choir performed just a handful of settings of Blake’s poems, starting with a completely new work by Chris Williams. The singers were placed strategically around the Sheldonian to maximize the effect of stereophonic polyphony, and the effect was magical. Settings by Taverner and Vaughan Williams followed, both performed with controlled intensity.'
Read the full review by Oxford Prospect here
St Paul's Episcopal Church, Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, PA, September 2014
'What set this choir apart was its ability under Burton’s direction to discernibly transform its characteristic sound to suit the music being sung. Each score was given its own sonic personality so that each came across as the material manifestation of the composer’s intention. It was never a matter of producing the “Schola Cantorum of Oxford sound.” Rather it was a fidelity to the music at hand that was the goal and the likes of which I’ve never encountered over so broad a repertoire.'
Read the full review here.
A Celebration of Christmas, December 2013
‘Schola Cantorum delivered immaculate performances of choral works ranging all the way from Berlioz’s haunting Shepherds’ Farewell to the twisty speeds of Debussy’s Trois Chansons de Charles D’Orléans to the thrillingly unpredictable Novo profusi gaudio - I can’t wait to hear this piece again.' Oxford Times, December 2013
Bach Magnificat, January 2013
St John's Co-Cathedral, Valletta, Malta, with the Orchestra of the Age of Englightenment (conducted by James Burton)
Haydn Creation, January 2013
Royal Festival Hall, with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (conducted by Adam Fischer)
Berlioz Roméo et Juliette, February 2012
Royal Festival Hall, with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (conducted by Sir Mark Elder)