Marvellous Music from the Magnard Ensemble

Marvellous Music from the Magnard Ensemble

Illustration by Angelo Corsi

Fatima Lahham reviews the Magnard Ensembles debut CD Revolting Rhymes & Marvellous Music, which combines music and storytelling to create a unique recording inspired by Roald Dahl's writing...

I love exploring different combinations of music and storytelling, so I was delighted when bassoonist Catriona McDermid of the Magnard Ensemble offered me a copy of their debut CD, titled Revolting Rhymes & Marvellous Music. I was not disappointed: the music is marvellous, the rhymes are revolting, and they work in tandem seamlessly!

The disc features the wind quintet plus pianist joining forces with narrator Rebecca Kenny for a celebration of the Roald Dahl centenary. Performing music by composers Paul Patterson and Martin Butler, they start with the story of Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf and end with that of The Three Little Pigs, sandwiching The Pig, The Tummy Beast, and The Crocodile.

Throughout the CD, narrator Rebecca Kenny's storytelling sparkles, with the inflections of her voice and timing with the instruments never once faltering. The instrumentalists are dynamic, funny, energetic, and full of character, yet combine this glorious sense of fun with impeccable tuning and ensemble.

While the compositions are sensitively crafted to blend with and support the narrative, the musicians strike a happy balance between accompanying the text and adding to it, resulting in optimum enjoyment of both music and narration.

This is a truly unique recording that bridges the gap between a music CD and an audio book, and that I would recommend to a wide variety of listeners, from children to Roald Dahl enthusiasts to someone looking for chamber music with a twist. Pre-order your copy now!

Since 2012 the MAGNARD ENSEMBLE have built a reputation for delivering both high quality concert performances and dynamic educational projects. The ensemble made their international debut at the Culture & Convention Centre Lucerne, Switzerland in January 2017. During the 2014/2015 season, the quintet simultaneously held a Chamber Music Fellowship at the Royal Academy of Music, as well as the inaugural joint fellowship between the RAM Open Academy and Wigmore Hall Learning. Currently, the Ensemble are selected artists for the CAVATINA Chamber Music Trust, the Tillett Trust Young Artist Platform, and the Tunnell Trust. The players all follow their own professional performing careers, appearing as soloists, chamber musicians, and with orchestras including London Philharmonic Orchestra, Southbank Sinfonia, Royal Northern Sinfonia, the BBC orchestras, and major UK opera orchestras. During 2016, their Revolting Rhymes and Marvellous Music project was launched nationwide to celebrate the centenary of Roald Dahl's birth, in partnership with Paul Patterson, Martin Butler, the City Music Foundation, and Music Link International. Featured on BBC Radio 3s In Tune programme in September 2016, the Ensemble has delivered concerts and workshops at festivals and venues across the country, including Wigmore Hall, the Forge Camden, National Centre for Early Music, Wells Cathedral School, the Hay, Thaxted and Aberystwyth festivals, and Repton School, Roald Dahls alma mater. The Ensemble is delighted that the recording is now available from Orchid Classics and to order on iTunes and Amazon.

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