Reviews

Music Web Internationl

‘Le Loup is transparently recorded and luminously orchestrated music…Limpid, beguiling music and music-making’

Classical Music Daily

‘This music will delight all who hear it – both the ballet and the woodwind pieces. The orchestrations in the woodwind pieces are masterful and I think they add significantly to the colour of the original works. The soloists and orchestra are as fine as you could ever want to hear. This is a fantastic disc.’

The Arts Desk

‘Wonderful stuff, handsomely played and recorded here…the couplings are exquisite. Each is wonderfully realised and impeccably performed.’

Gramophone Magazine

‘It’s outings on disc are rare, so Wilson’s recording is more than welcome. As one might expect, it’s flawlessly done, scrupulously paced and played, with Dutilleux’s often extraordinary colours and textures beautifully explored…The [soloist] performances, digging deep into the subtleties of Hesketh’s instrumentation, are first-rate.’

BBC Music Magazine

‘John Wilson seizes on the opportunities to bring out the vivid colours of Dutilleux’s score, with the brass blazing superbly and every rhythm alive with meaning. No less striking is the music’s lyricism, phrased by Wilson with great tenderness…’

Financial Times

‘bewitchingly played and imaginatively directed by Wilson…this disc of early works by the fastidious French composer Henri Dutilleux succeeds beyond expectation.’

Financial Times

“… the players do not half go for it. This is the most exhilarating of recordings, arguably the first to rival Britten’s own … [Music for Strings] is a superbly wrought piece, delivered with the panache that is a trademark of the whole disc.”

The Sunday Times

“Wilson’s handpicked band play with a depth of sonority and variety to challenge the greatest ensembles … an original and fabulously well-played album, dazzlingly recorded.”

BBC Music Magazine

“Wilson and his hand-picked band of musicians continue to strike gold with almost anything they turn their hands to. In taking on this oft-recorded set of orchestral favourites, they set a new benchmark. Wilson’s handling is full of nuance, resulting in performances of light and shade, but mostly joyful exuberance.”

The Guardian

“Britten’s Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, with its poise, angularity and gleam, receives a virtuosic performance from this ace ensemble … playing of immense technical flair.”  

Presto Classical

“Right from the determined opening bars of Britten’s Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, it’s clear that this too is an exceptional album. What most impresses is not only the effortless manner with which the players dispatch their flurries of notes, but how they respond just as magnificently to every nuance of dynamics and articulation: I can’t recall many other ensembles who, like a flock of birds moving as one in the sky, are able to adapt and adjust so quickly and single-mindedly.” 

BBC Radio 3: Record Review

“…Scintillating string playing, somehow both lush and with real immediacy, Wilson drawing razor-sharp responses from this crack team of players. You can hear so much detail in the beautifully made recording as well – you feel the bows on the strings, the rich bass … it’s brilliant …”

Bliss Society Journal, Robert Matthew-Walker

“I have never heard string orchestral playing of this quality for many years – either on or off a record. It is of a quality that goes beyond virtuosity (of which it has, in spades) but is suffused with that element of commitment to the music – a belief in its inherent value – that is wholly exceptional in music-making today. Wilson and the Sinfonia of London deliver here far and away the greatest performance I have ever heard … no other performance – not Karajan with the Philharmonia or Britten himself with the English Chamber Orchestra – is as good as this one.” 

Gramophone Magazine

“Once again John Wilson draws the most glorious sound from his hand-picked orchestra, lavishing care and devotion on repertoire that could have been written for him.”

The Arts Desk

“Astonishingly good … bold, confident and extrovert, this is thrilling.”

Mail on Sunday

“dazzling … some of the finest string playing ever put on disc by a British orchestra.”

The Spectator

“The strings rear up, there’s a flash of steel from the trumpets, and ten seconds into Respighi’s ‘Feste Romane’, you can already tell that things are about to get physical. It’s the heft of the sound that floors you — the gut punch of a 100-piece orchestra darting through Respighi’s Technicolor sonorities with the silken grace of a puma  … The quiet passages have a tactile, perfumed softness that you won’t hear from any other orchestra.” 

MusicWeb International

“This is a fabulous disc. John Wilson puts these scores across with a dramatist’s flair but also with a scrupulous ear for detail. His hand-picked orchestra plays superbly from start to finish. The big moments are absolutely thrilling, but just as exciting are the many passages of quiet subtlety; these are all delivered with unfailing sensitivity.”

“I’m struggling to think of an orchestral recording that has impressed me more … This is a knock-out recording.”

 

 

BBC Music Magazine

“There are dozens of versions of Respighi’s ‘Roman Trilogy’ available, but I’ve heard none better than this. The orchestral playing is magnificent, and its joy and exuberance are a tonic.”

Gramophone Magazine

“This is a high-voltage interpretation, virtuosically  played and strong on detail and drama…as we have come to expect from these forces, the results are nothing if not gripping. 

The competition in this repertory is stiff…but Wilson and his orchestra more than hold their own against their rivals, and perhaps just have the edge over them thanks to Chandos’s superbly engineered recording, which is state-of-the-art, and absolutely stunning.”

MusicWeb International

“I have never heard this music presented with such power and detail and sheer visceral excitement but also with such control and sophisticated balance – it is literally revelatory…. this might just be one of Chandos’ finest feats of engineering ever, showcasing the superlative and sophisticated playing of John Wilson’s Sinfonia of London. A genuine triumph.”

The Sunday Times

“The meticulous Wilson is compelling…he makes the music of all three scores sing with an Italiante accent while encouraging his players to heights of virtuosity. and a rich spectrum of dynamics and colour.”

The Observer

“Deprived as we are of big orchestras, this disc is a joy: massive, audacious and vividly played… Respighi’s best known work – Roman Trilogy – is brought to dazzling new life by John Wilson and his historic recording orchestra.”

The Telegraph

“In Wilson’s interpretation the piece was brought to life for me as never before. Until I heard this I thought there were two truly outstanding accounts of this trilogy: Toscanini and the NBC Symphony Orchestra on RCA from 1949; and Riccardo Muti and the Philadelphia Orchestra on EMI from 1984. Now I believe there are three.”

The Arts Desk

“Fritz Reiner’s improbably lush Chicago Symphony version on RCA should be on all shelves, along with this John Wilson disc with Sinfonia of London. You hear stuff that you’ll struggle to notice in other performances. …Sumptuous sonics and good notes, too. Go on – treat yourself.”

The Classic Review

“Wilson navigates changes of meter, key and tempo with ease, creating the clearest visuals in the mind’s eye. The orchestral colours Wilson and co cajole are sheer beauty…A remarkable album to treasure.”

Presto Classical

“With dazzlingly inventive dashes of orchestration and demandingly intricate writing across all sections, these three pieces are the perfect vehicle to showcase the sensational virtuosity on offer from this ensemble. …A thrilling culmination to yet another phenomenal album from John Wilson and Sinfonia of London.”

Classical CD Choice

“This is really something special: astonishingly detailed, spectacularly exciting, delivered with the full-blooded panache that we have come to expect from John Wilson and this orchestra. …Sinfonia of London plays as if their lives depended on it, and tackle the pieces here with a dazzling combination of orchestral finesse and virtuosity.”

BBC Music Magazine

“All the performances are beyond praise and superbly recorded. This is undoubtedly my best disc of the last 12 months”

Gramophone Magazine

“The enthusiasm that Wilson elicits from his orchestra is very much apparent on every track, though what really impresses is the finesse as well as the virtuosity of the playing, the refinement of detail, the subtlety of texture and colour.”

The Guardian

“All of the music requires refined, stylish playing, and Wilson and his orchestra can certainly supply that. Their performance of Debussy’s Prelude lays down an early marker of their subtlety.”

Financial Times

Wilson’s technically brilliant orchestra is in its element and the performances add an extra dash of showmanship to the music’s luminous, sensuous, always totally French sound-world.

The Classic Review

“Ravishing – a performance that balances fragile beauty and fulsome passion. It’s easy to imagine this will be one of my top 5 recordings of the year – urgently recommended.”

The Symphonist

“It’s a very long time since a record gave me so much sheer listening pleasure. Already a contender for Record of the Year.”

The Telegraph

“Delicious from beginning to end, and the performances from Sinfonia of London and John Wilson are wonderful.”

Daily Mail

Terrific…if Wilson and the Sinfonia of London carry on like this, it will become a memorable partnership.”

Sunday Times

This first album is a promise of great things to come. The Symphony emerges as a near-masterpiece in [Wilson’s] flexible hands, fabulously played by the musicians. More, please.”

Gramophone Magazine

“Every phrase speaks; textures are translucent and detailed, and the string sound glows from within. Stirring, thought-provoking and superbly played, this disc is a tonic.”

BBC Music Magazine

“The playing of the Sinfonia of London is astonishingly brilliant, with Hollywood-dream glories in the string tone.”

Classical Source

“Wilson’s most substantial recording achievement to date. Setting new standards in several respects…these scores have surely never been prepared to so exalted a standard.”