Scottish Ensemble - Britten - Inverness Courier
Much of this programme was performed by the Scottish Ensemble under Clio Gould at their sell-out 2003 Christmas Candlelight Concert at Inverness Cathedral and this life-like recording is doubly welcome - as a souvenir for those in the audience and a consolation for those who couldn't get in. Britten's Variations on a theme by Frank Bridge which forms the instrumental centrepiece is full of rhythmic variety and vitality, played with characteristic Clio brio. The outer works both feature fresh-voiced tenor Toby Spence who rises magnificently to the technical challenges presented by Britten's setting of Rimbaud's French poems Les Illuminations. His range and sustaining power make light of the tests in the Serenade for Tenor, Horn and strings with Martin Owen proving an able foul with his agile, immaculate and beautifully round-toned horn-playing.