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What they said

Stravinsky - MYTHS


Conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen

Royal Festival Hall, Sunday 25 September, 2016

(live broadcast on BBC Radio 3)

The Guardian  ****


"The choral singing – from the Philharmonia Voices and Tiffin Boys’ Choir – was beautifully refined, nowhere more so perhaps than in the drastically simple lullaby that accompanies Perséphone’s dreams in the underworld." 

The Times  ****   [subscriber access only]

"Esa-Pekka Salonen’s forces woke Stravinsky’s Perséphone up with a lyrical force and pristine glow that knocked me for six... Stravinsky's staccato approach to setting texts might have infuriated his librettist, Andre Gide, but Gide never heard the Philharmonia Voices spreading honey over his syllables and frolicking through the simple rhythms."

The Telegraph  **** 

“Tenor Andrew Staples as the Narrator gave Stravinsky’s angular lines a movingly chaste quality, as did the Philharmonia Voices and Tiffin Boys’ Choir.”


Classical Source 

“The members of Philharmonia Voices charmed the ear as Nymphs in the “cakewalk” music of Part One, and as Shades for the lullaby in Hades, their singing was lovingly rendered and all the more impressive for singing the text in semi-darkness.”


The Arts Desk

“The professional Philharmonia Voices made coolly ravishing work both of Euridice’s pastel companions and of the simple chorus of shades.”



“The Philharmonia Voices and the Tiffin Boys' Choir brought a natural simplicity to the piece which let the narrative ritual elements stand out. Clarity of diction from all performers was universally excellent, where fogginess would have destroyed the work’s impact. “


Seen and Heard

“A feature of the contribution of Philharmonia Voices was the delightfully fresh, appealing tone quality, especially among the lady singers: this ensemble must have a younger average age than most professional groups. “


Classical Iconoclast

“The Tiffin Boys Choir and the Philharmonia Voices were superb, creating the atmsophere and mystery, absolutely essential to meaning.”

Stravinsky - FAITH

Works including Requiem CanticlesMass, Cantata,

Introitus in memoriam T.S.Eliot

Conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen

St John's Smith Square, Thursday 2 June, 2016

(live broadcast on BBC Radio 3)



The Observer  *****


"Without gimmick and using a few simple devices – low lighting, the sound of bells, a waft of incense – St John’s Smith Square had acquired the atmosphere of Orthodox St Petersburg. All lightly scored, these short pieces allowed the Philharmonia to shine as soloists, and the Philharmonia Voices too. ... Essential listening"

The Telegraph  ****

"Submission, quiet joy and a reverence that dare not raise its voice is the key-note of these late works, a feeling often caught in these performances. The soft chanting of the Philharmonia Voices in the Credo in the Mass, shadowed by 10 wind players of the Philharmonia Orchestra, felt exactly right in its hushed suppression

...As a homage to the little-known religious side of the 20th century’s greatest composer, this concert could hardly have been bettered."

Classical Source ***** 


“Whether singer or instrumentalist, everyone involved here played their part admirably in this wonderful 75-minute, without-interval concert, which was beguiling, enlightening and smoothly coordinated. ... Being in St John's was very special.”

Seen and Heard

“A notable feature in the Mass and the Cantata particularly was the beautifully clear and technically immaculate singing of Philharmonia Voices, a professional group that comprises young singers. Not only was this youthfulness evident visually but in the group’s fresh quality of tone production.”


Vaughan Williams - Sea Symphony

Conducted by John Wilson; with Bristol and Gloucester Societies, and Philharmonia Voices

Royal Festival Hall, Sunday 24 January 2016



Bachtrack  ****


"Full-throated singing from the Bristol Choral Society, Gloucester Choral Society and the Philharmonia Voices created the imposing wall of sound needed and then went on to provide a wide range of expressive singing with huge enthusiasm, whatever RVW threw at them...Chorus and orchestra were as one and every climax hit home like a tsunami."



The Evening Standard   ****


"The “intrepid sailors” in this stirring Philharmonia performance were the well-drilled Bristol and Gloucester Choral Societies and the Philharmonia Voices...and with Sally Matthews and Roderick Williams as the admirable soloists, there was a real sense of awe and discovery on this spiritual voyage."



Philharmonia 70th anniversary gala concert: 

Beethoven Symphony no.9, conducted by Christoph von Dohnányi

Royal Festival Hall, Sunday 27 September 2015



The Telegraph  *****


"The performers, knowing they were cresting a wave, captured the work's strenuous joy with no sense of strain. The young voices of the Rodolfus Choir and Philharmonia Voices soared with seeming effortlessness, as did the soloists, above all soprano Rachel Willis-Sørensen. The gods seemed to be smiling on this performance, which at the end touched the sublime."



The Financial Times   ****


"This was an irrepressible performance, demonstrating Dohnányi’s ability to energise his troops. The Rodolfus Choir and Philharmonia Voices could hardly have sounded more enthused."


The Times  ****  (subscriber access only)


"Much of the wow factor stemmed from the youthful chorus, laced with Philharmonia Voices members but dominated by Ralph Allwood’s Rodolfus Choir, as energising as a shot of tequila."



The Guardian ***


"Beethoven’s writing makes things notoriously difficult for the vocal soloists and choir. Here, the Rodolfus Choir and Philharmonia Voices rose to almost all challenges. Even the sopranos, of whom the composer makes particularly unreasonable demands, succeeded. Meanwhile, soprano Charlotta Larsson, mezzo Ruxandra Donose, tenor Michael König and baritone James Rutherford formed an impressive quartet of soloists."



Classical Source


"With a work as frequently performed as this, it is easy to become blasé about its message, but the youthful-sounding, fresh-voiced forces of the Philharmonia Voices and the Rodolfus Choir imparted a new urgency and meaning to Schiller’s cosmic vision of Joy. …Dohnányi’s conducting may not have made an obvious point of probing the music’s deeper aspects, but it certainly did not lack gravitas, and a sense of spontaneity and vitality gave the work a new lease of life."



Seen and Heard


"The combined forces of the Rodolfus Choir and the Philharmonia Voices were simply superb, capable of full-toned pianissimi and earth-shaking fortissimi."



Some other previous reviews...


“It was the Philharmonia Voices, singing with delicate, haunting beauty, that etched the deepest mark.” 

Financial Times on Ravel L’enfant et les Sortilèges


“To their considerable credit, the oustanding singers of the Philharmonia Voices, Rodolfus Choir and Tiffin Boys’ Choir sprinted virtuosically alongside: tight in ensemble, yet rapturous in full cry.”

The Times on Mahler Symphony of a Thousand


“There was some exemplary work from the choral battalions, who proved themselves capable of a true pianissimo as well as some roof-raising climaxes.”

The Guardian on Mahler Symphony of a Thousand


“No one, though, not even the orchestra, could overshadow the stunning contribution of the Philharmonia Voices. Absolute vocal security combined with surprising weight for a choir of under fifty, to assault both conscience and consciousness.” on Prokofiev Alexander Nevsky


“The contribution of the men of Philharmonia Voices was uniformly excellent.” on Shostakovich Babi Yar


“The two choral interjections were stunning. A half-hearted semi-staging seemed unnecessary: Dallapiccola’s music and the singers said it all.”

The Telegraph on Dallapiccola Il Prigioniero


“…magnificently pungent choral effects that were virtuosically realised here by the young Philharmonia Voices.”

The Times on Magnus Lindberg GRAFFITI


“…electrifying choral singing”

The Guardian on Schoenberg Gurrelieder


“…a professional choir, and a spectacularly good one, too…”

The Sunday Times on Stravinsky Oedipus Rex


“Philharmonia Voices created a mirage of intoxicating sound.”

The Daily Telegraph on Britten Death in Venice

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