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Borletti-Buitoni Trust

Bram van Sambeek bassoon

Aho and Fagerlund - Solo and Concerto works for Bassoon

"Bram van Sambeek takes everything in his evidently extensive stride.  The agility, conviction, impish humour and searing seriousness all stem from a remarkably rounded musicianship: talent and personality in abundance, but at the same time strongly focused.  I've a feeling composers will  be queuing up to write for him."
Stephen Johnson, BBC Music Magazine February 2017 *****

"Mana reveals once again [Fagerlund’s] fertile and compelling musical intellect... While sounding taxing to play...its dedicatee Bram van Sambeek relishes its demands and is given wonderful support by the Lahti Symphony Orchestra.  ... There is also a breathtakingly virtuoso account of Solo V (1999), the bassoon instalment in Aho’s marvellous ongoing instrumental series.  Stunningly vivid sound throughout, as we expect from BIS."
Guy Rickards, Gramophone February 2017

"Bram van Sambeek, our national bassoon hero, delivers on the BIS label a thrilling rendition of the [Aho’s] bassoon concerto, a piece with exciting harmonic developments, a magnificent passacaglia and a sparkling final movement.
…It's [Fagerlund’s concerto, Mana] a mesmerizing work …The two solo pieces by Aho and Fagerlund are a nice addition. Here the detail and tone variations of van Sambeek’s playing come into their own and show evene better what a fantastic instrumentalist he is." 
Frits van der Waa, De Volkskrant 9 December 2016

"Van Sambeek masters all these technical tricks, demanded by both Aho and by his younger Finnish countryman Sebastian Fagerlund (b. 1972) with immaculate and exemplary precision: playing extremes by way of both contrasting leaps and gradual transitions, switching between different techniques such as glissandi, multiphonics, singing during the game etc.
[in Mana, Fagerlund] …wants to conjure up shamanistic rituals … leads the listener into mysterious sound worlds … Bram van Sambeek performs with intensely penetrating and, at the same time, effortlessly flexible playing."
Christoph Schlüren, Klassik Heute 9 December 2016

Hear excerpts from all four works here

Watch the video of the world premiere of Mana with Bram van Sambeek here

Heath Quartet

Tchaikovsky String Quartets Nos. 1 & 3

"In the Quartet No 1, the warmth of their playing hits the ear first, but what is really impressive is how naturally they make the changes of pace and mood unfold in the opening movement…. even if these introspective moments are the breath-holding high points of this disc, the Heaths’ upbeat playing is irresistible too."
Erica Jeal, The Guardian 8 December 2016

"There are celebrated Russian recordings of these quartets with a deeper Slavic passion, but the Heath Quartet brings to Tchaikovsky urgency and a willingness to engage with intensity."
Richard Fairman, Financial Times 25 November 2016

"In the hymn-like introduction, andante sostenuto, and especially the andante funebre e doloroso, the Heath players pour out Tchaikovsky’s grief for his friend with a depth of tone and virtuosity – in the allegros – that matches the finest Russians on disc. A notable debut."
Hugh Canning, Sunday Times 20 November 2016 (Album of the Week)

"the Heath Quartet address [the First Quartet] with subdued affection in this endearing recording…but joyous moments also abound…the Heaths unleash a healthy exuberance in its Finale, and again in the Third’s puckish Allegretto. They sign off the later quartet with a radiant topping of optimism underpinned by bristling rhythmic energy."
Ken Walton, The Scotsman/ 30 November 2016 ****

"one of the things I was very impressed by in this performance is that they make this Tchaikovsky sound almost closer to Brahms in some ways…Tchaikovsky’s thought processes are so often undervalued, we get so swept away by the emotion that we don’t realise he was also a very fine musical thinker too…they [the Heath Quartet] show that you don’t have to go overboard to capture that sense of loss of grief."
BBC Radio 3 Record Review, 26 November 2016

"… clean, assured performances … The Heath Quartet’s careful attention to dynamics pays dividends in the introspective first movement, which is almost symphonic in style."
Mark Pullinger, Gramophone December 2016

Hear excerpts from both quartets here

Mark Simpson clarinet / composer

Night Music - NMC Composer Debut Disc CD

"...what hits home immediately in this magnificent collection is the music’s individuality and strength.  The sounds keep flying in mutating swirls, the strident morphing into the lyrical, or vice versa... Above all there’s Simpson’s blazing confidence, his full understanding of instrumental capabilities, and his love of pushing them to the edge."
Geoff Brown, BBC Music Magazine, September 2016

"Simpson has an awful lot of music inside him and plenteous discipline when it comes to writing it down... His use of space and silence is notable, as are his gift for melody, his ability to ratchet up drama and his refreshing lack of inhibition in reaching for orthodoxies of style or tonality... This is high-quality music. And in case you need reminding, Simpson can play that clarinet too."
Andrew Mellor, Gramophone, August 2016

Hear excperts from Night Music here

Watch Mark Simpson's BBT film about recording Night Music here

Benjamin Beilman violin

Spectrum CD with pianist Yekwon Sunwoo on Warner Classics

"Benjamin Beilman immediately draws us into the elusive sound world of Schubert’s D574 Sonata via his acute sensitivity to phrasing and dynamics… [He] leaves no emotional stone unturned, enhanced by tactile engineering of radiant allure… Beilman also brings the Janacek Sonata’s nerve-jangling changeability scorchingly to life, soaring aloft with ear-ringingly pure intonation in the Ballada, then lacerating our senistivities with hectoring explosions of sound…  His edge-of-the-seat, Kremer-on-fire take on Kreisler’s Viennese Rhapsodic Fantasietta sets the seal on a dazzling recital."

Julian Haylock, The Strad, May 2016

"In the opening phrases of the Schubert, Benjamin Beilman is unashamedly Romantic with vibrato used throughout, discreet portamentos and a seamless legato... There’s no doubting the technical accomplishment of both players and the scherzo is a tour de force."

Martin Cotton, BBC Music Magaizne, April 2016

Hear an excerpt from Spectrum here