Related Reviews
BBC Music Magazine
4½ Stars
'Ensemble Marsyas afford all due splendour to ravishing largos, martial pomp to rousing allegros, and high-spirited dance steps to Menuets...an assured disc of horn-infused Baroque finery.'
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MusicWeb International
'In all five Concerti Grossi the Edinburgh-based Ensemble Marsyas play with impeccable stylistic elegance...decidedly pleasing...'
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The Arts Desk
'This superb disc celebrates Barsanti’s Scottish period, pairing his music with works by his one-time collaborator, Handel...Glorious stuff...Linn’s sound is spectacularly vivid.'
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All Music
'Recommended for those who love Handel and his era.'
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RTE Lyric FM 'Classic Drive'
CD of the Week
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Presto Classical
Editor's Choice: '...brought off with captivating brio from all involved'
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MDR Kultur
CD of the Week: '…due to the freshness, originality and natural virtuosity of the performances …the album is therefore an unconditional recommendation.'
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Pizzicato
5 Stars
'Ensemble Marsyas plays with an infectious joy of music making...The refinement and the elegance are equally impressive.'
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BBC Radio 3 'Record Review'
'...played with tremendous zest and character...a vibrant recording...'
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Europadisc
'Engaging, entertaining, sensitive and remarkably assured, it will appeal to all lovers of Baroque music. Altogether a triumphant disc.'
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The Guardian
4 Stars
'...it’s a rich insight, played with great style and charisma.'
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The Irish Times
5 Stars
'Baroque music gem: The performances by Ensemble Marsyas...are consistently bracing.'
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Ensemble Marsyas - Edinburgh 1742 - Gramophone


01 October 2017
Gramophone
Lindsay Kemp

The music of Francesco Barsanti (c1690-1775) normally only makes it on to a recording when it shows its Scottish accent. The Lucca-born composer spent eight years in the service of the Edinburgh Musical Society between two lengthy spells in London, and titbits from his A Collection of Old Scots Tunes regularly surface whenever a disc or concert has Scottish Baroque as its subject. Rarely, rarely, comes any of his other music, and on the evidence of this release one really has to wonder why. His six published opus numbers include a set of 10 concerti grossi, Op 3, five of them for trumpet, oboes and strings and five for two horns, timpani and strings; and in the expert hands of Ensemble Marsyas and their horn players Alec Frank-Gemmill and Joseph Walters, the latter turn out to be works of enormous joy and spirit. Their sound world will be familiar to many from Handel’s Water Music, and while the minuet finales sound as if they could almost be lost numbers from that work, the chortling energy Barsanti conjures in his allegros has an abandon that might just have been a bit too boisterous for a royal river party.

The Handel connection – he and Barsanti certainly knew each other – is recognised in the great man’s Concerto for two horns, HWV331 (an arrangement of two movements from the Water Music), a march from Tolomeo and the superb ‘Sta nell’Ircana pietrosa tana’ from Alcina. Emilie Renard is the soprano here, and no less boldly magnificent is she than the horns that blow through not only this piece but virtually the whole disc like an invigorating and cleansing wind.

Barsanti the ‘Scotsman’ is also heard in four Scots Tunes sweetly and idiomatically played by violinist Colin Scobie. Michael Talbot supplies a booklet-note that stokes fascination with this neglected figure and, this being a Linn recording, the sound is naturally stunning. Once again Baroque music surprises and delights!


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Alec Frank-GemmillAlec Frank-Gemmill
Emilie RenardEmilie Renard
Ensemble MarsyasEnsemble Marsyas
George Frideric HandelGeorge Frideric Handel
Peter WhelanPeter Whelan
Edinburgh 1742: Barsanti & HandelEdinburgh 1742: Barsanti & Handel