Reviews

"...The trio was completed by Emily Mitchell who rendered Philistine Woman's and other Israelite Woman's arias with grace and style." Sandra Bowdler, Bachtrack

"...Barkers setting of these four wonderful poems fully exploited the dynamic and tonal range of Mitchell's wonderful soprano voice. The melodic writing here was difficult in terms of both pitching and phrasing - hurdles that Mitchell overcame with confidnece and assured poise. She was extremely expressive, with impeccable diction throughout. She could go from a forte to a subdued piano without the least effort and her projection came naturally to the last wisp of sound" The Victoria Arts Festival, 2016 www.viaf.org.mt/composerpianist-jennifer-margaret-barker-in-concert-with-caraid-tri/

 

"...the singers and players explored a vast panorama of sounds, colours and emotional expression, all of it underlying the staggering originality of Monteverdi. It was alluring, with Emily Mitchell getting to break our hearts in the great Nymph's Lament." - Michael Tumelty, The Herald 

 

"What was already top drawer music-making then pushed through the envelope of excellence with two extraordinary singers, soprano Emily Mitchell and mezzo Catriona Morison, who animated with their gorgeous voices a selection of Mendelssohn's opus 63 duets. The soprano's voice had a dazzling lustre......They were glorious, " - Michael Tumelty, The Herald 

 

"when the gates of Heaven are thrown open, I’d tears in my eyes.  Best of all, Tomas had engaged a wonderful young soprano, Emily Mitchell, for the all important solo part in the last movement.  If I say that she reminded me of a young Lucia Popp, I can give no higher praise." http://wholeelephant.co.uk/tag/tomas-leakey/

 

"...soloists Jeremy Huw Williams (baritone) and Emily Mitchell (soprano) were finally able to shine, particularly the latter in her moving account of the iconic Pie Jesu setting. "- Martin Kershaw, The Herald

 

"The Scottish premiere of The Farthest Shore, commissioned by John Armitage Memorial (JAM), St David’s Festival and the Edinburgh Royal Choral Union (ERCU), also demonstrates his talent for theatricality. In this reworking of Anglesey folk-tale, The Healer, Mealor begins by encircling the audience with a susurrating choir and “breathy” brass to evoke the stormy seas which wash a stranger ashore.

The tale unfolds with conductor Michael Bawtree deftly co-ordinating the ERCU at one end of the church, the National Youth Choir of Scotland (NYCoS) Edinburgh choir, conducted by Mark Evans, at the opposite end, with baritone Jeremy Huw Williams in the pulpit and soprano Emily Mitchell moving between the two choirs....

While the ERCU didn’t quite get their tongues around some of the more fleeting lines in Britten’s cantata, Rejoice in the Lamb, they captured its jocose spirit. Bawtree steered the choir through a compelling performance of Faure’s Requiem, and Mitchell’s sublime account of Agnus Dei [Pie Jesu], to finish off this ambitious programme delivered with enthusiasm and aplomb." - Susan Nickalls, The Scotsman

 

"As the picture shows there was a full audience on Sunday evening at Greyfriars Kirk - cheek-by-jowl with the Edinburgh Pro Musica Orchestra. They in turn were in front of the 107 singers of the Edinburgh Royal Choral Union. The evening's theme was the first Christmas of the Great War, one hundred years ago.

In Terra Pax, composed in 1954, brings together verses from Handel's Messiah with extracts from Robert Bridge's poem Noel: Christmas Eve, 1913 subtitled Peace and good will to all men. The baritone, Oscar Dom Victor Castellino, sporting his vivid pink bow tie convincingly set the scene from the poem followed by the chorus singing the familiar Christmas story. Emily Mitchell's first rate soprano solo took the part of the angel. The chorus responded with more from the baritone voice. A thought provoking work well chosen to set the scene for what was to come.

It was curiously so appropriate to end with Haydn's bright and lively Nelson Mass - a Mass setting composed at the time of the Battle of Trafalgar. Aka Arockiam as mezzo-soprano and Kieran White as tenor joined the earlier soloists and, with the Edinburgh Pro Musica Orchestra also in fine fettle, gave it to us the way I am sure Haydn would have wished.

This was a thoroughly well designed and well performed concert that does considerable credit to Michael Bawtree's Edinburgh Royal Choral Union and their colleagues." - Barnaby Milne, Edinburgh Guide

 

 

"Their month-before-Christmas offering was decidedly unseasonal, and nothing if not ambitious – a big, meaty, pretty uncompromising new piece by Edinburgh-born US-resident composer Thea Musgrave – The Voice of Our Ancestors, getting its Scottish premiere – which dealt with nothing less than profound questions of life, death and everything in between using texts from ancient civilisations. And written for enormous forces, too: four solo singers, brass quintet, organ, and the ERCU augmented by boys from Edinburgh Academy, all parading around Greyfriars’ interior to assume different positions for contrasting portions.

In truth, it was probably a bit too much to take in properly – magnificent as spectacle, but hard not to think you were missing quite a lot of detail in Musgrave’s doggedly serious choral writing. And although the menfolk sounded a bit thin – and a bit unconvinced – the women singers gave Musgrave’s teeming creation exactly the enthusiastic, theatrical delivery it needed, under driven, compelling, precise conducting from ERCU’s director Michael Bawtree.

A special mention for the exceptional players of Scottish quintet BrassLab, too, who blended with Simon Hogan’s organ in some imposing, striking sonorities, and provided plenty of rugged virtuosity on their own.

There was more theatricality in the concert’s concluding piece, the likeably Adams-esque The Far Theatricals of Day, similarly large-scale settings of Emily Dickinson by Jonathan Dove, even if Britten’s Hymn to St Cecilia really needed more power from ERCU’s tenors and basses. A daring adventure, nonetheless, and a remarkable achievement." David Kettle, Scotsman

 

"The only specific mention of St Cecilia on her feast day in the this Sunday evening concert was Britten's Hymn to St Cecilia, the last of his collaborations with WH Auden, which was the weakest of the choir's performances, a fine blending of their voices marred by a lack of crispness in both words and notes. But I can't imagine the patroness of musicians was in any way displeased with the rest of the offerings chorusmaster Michael Bawtree, a fine quartet of soloists and "the Choral" brought to the table.

Jonathan Dove's The Far Theatricals of Day from 2003, setting Emily Dickinson, and Thea Musgrave's new The Voices of our Ancestors, first heard in London in July and receiving its Scottish premiere, are both co-commissions by JAM (John Armitage Memorial), the musical trust that has done so much to create new choral repertoire, and both share the accompaniment of organ (Simon Hogan) and brass quintet (Glasgow's BrassLab).

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Dove's piece is the more theatrical, as its name suggests, the brass players taking up stations around the space and the chorus ebbing and flowing onto the staging behind individual solo showcases, culminating in the mightiest ensemble sound of the night with the instrumentalists after a dialogue with tenor Peter van Hulle.

But it was the Musgrave that demands the swiftest possible repeat performance. There will never be a bad time to hear music that so eloquently combines these elements (Emily Mitchell, Annie Gill and Julian Tovey completing the soloist line-up, and adding the young men of Edinburgh Academy as a second Chamber Choir) but there seemed special echoes in setting texts older than either the Bible or the Koran at the present time." Keith Bruce, The Herald

 

© 2013 by Emily Mitchell

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