Summer 2023 Reviews


Summer 2023 Reviews

Wild Arts, The Elixir of Love, Alex Jones; image: Bonnie Britain

We’re very proud of the excellent reviews our 2023 summer season has attracted from leading music critics:

Tippett Quartet with Emma Abbate, piano, 1 July:

On Gustav Holst’s Phantasy on British Folk Songs, Op 36:

‘The performance was a joy, opening with a superbly delivered viola solo by Lydia Lowndes-Northcott, and blossoming out beautifully. The piece is well-crafted, and the quartet brought out its sense of both structural and linear perfection.’ Colin Clarke, in Classical Explorer.

Read Colin Clarke’s full review of the Tippett Quartet with Emma Abbate

Our Composer-in-Residence Noah Max’s Quartet No 2 (world première), performed by the Tippett Quartet, was described by Robert Hugill:

‘The first movement began with long sustained lines interrupted by episodic flurries in each line, the harmonies edgy yet with a sense of clarity, something that carried through the movement. Textures changed, becoming more mobile, then profoundly mysterious, creating a restless sense underpinned by the unease of the edgy harmonies. Throughout the players offered an intensely concentrated performance. The second movement alternated a fast scurrying with moments of quasi-stasis using instrumental harmonics, sometimes combining the two to vivid and quite unusual effect, and there was a pell-mell climax which led to an ending that seemed to have problems achieving finality. The third movement was quiet, intense and haunting (or perhaps haunted), slowly unfolding with growing intensity towards an ending that came as a surprise.’ Robert Hugill, in Planet Hugill

Read the full review by Robert Hugill of the Tippet Quartet with Emma Abbate

Claire Seymour also reviewed Noah Max’s Quartet No 2, along with the complete Tippett Quartet programme, featuring Emma Abbate, piano. Of their performance of Schumann’s Piano Quintet, she writes:

‘The Tippett Quartet and Emma Abbate have performed Schumann’s Piano Quintet together many times. On this occasion they combined flawless execution with instinctive – and utterly engaging – musicianship.’ Claire Seymour, in Seen and Heard International.

Read the full review

Wild Arts’ production of The Elixir of Love, 2 July:

‘…this was a wonderfully enjoyable and engaging performance that really punched above its weight. The audience in Thaxted clearly loved it and were fully engaged, whilst this experienced reviewer was carried away as well. I must add, that there was no feeling of a group of performers simply rocking up and singing, this was an admirably polished and rather sophisticated performance.’ Robert Hugill, in Planet Hugill.

Read the full opera review

‘Part of Wild Arts' second Summer Opera Tour, this production of Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love at Thaxted Festival was utter delight. Donizetti’s 1832 opera is a perennial favourite, funny and chock-full of fine melodies. It is also beautifully structured – Wild Arts’ performance honoured all aspects of this miraculous score.‘ Colin Clarke, Opera Now

Read the full Opera Now review or Download as a PDF

‘The Essex town of Thaxted has assorted claims to fame, but for the most part they relate to its medieval parish church: a building of cathedral-like magnificence that in the 20th century attracted interesting priests and still more interesting musicians. Gustav Holst was Thaxted’s organist during the early years of World War I, founding a festival that still runs in the church and is a thriving model of what festivals should be.’ Michael White in the Catholic Herald, September 2023.

Read the full Catholic Herald review