|Here's a selection of what the press have said about ensemblebash:|
"Classical music concerts dull?I heard a Senegalese circumcision dance, and shared the life of a firefly. I whizzed through the Channel Tunnel. I went to a noisy dinner party and toured the constellation Cygnus. And all this without moving from my seat in Nicholas Hawksmoor's Baroque masterpiece, Christ Church, Spitalfields.
"This selection of new works for percussion ensemble offers a myriad different directions, several more refined and delicate than you'd expect from music made by bashing.
Howard Skempton's "Slip-stream", for instance, is the most restrained of percussive duets, with vibes and glockenspiel twinkling delicately over shimmering cymbal, while Peter McGarr's "Sound Asleep" employs wind and string instruments alongside a wide range of percussion for a shifting evocation of a dreamscape. The longest piece is Keith Tippett's absorbing "Dance Of The Dragonfly", a jittery work whose long pauses, punctuated by sudden rapid bursts of activity, skilfully evokes its insect subject's brief but dazzling life.
Download: Shard; Slip-stream; Sound Asleep; Dance Of The Dragonfly."
The Independent (UK)
"If every latenight Prom is as gripping as this we shall all be desperately short of sleep by September. Little did I imagine that I would ever miss the last bus to Hendon because of a Senegalese circumcision dance. But then, I doubt whether even the finest Senegalese circumcisionists perform with quite such relish as Ensemble Bash.
They are a British four-man percussion group whose name does scant justice to their subtlety, virtuosity and global outlook, though it does hint at the mad humour and looselimbed jiving that enlivens their shows. here they joined forces with that most adventurous of pianists, Joanna MacGregor, for a programme which, with minimum musicological fuss, pointed up the parallels between folk music of many cultures and the 'alternative' art music of this century.
Thus it was educational, if you wanted it to be, but also richly entertaining. And the fact that the performers actually spoke wittily, to the audience (the arena was packed, even at 11.30pm) was a huge plus. It should happen more often.
Yet sometimes the links between 'folk' and 'art' were left to announce themselves. For instance, the opening dance from Ghana, hypnotic rhythms played on folk xylophones and drums dovetailed perfectly into Steve Reich's Music for Pieces of Wood. That made Reich seem less a minimalist pioneer, more a late convert to a drumming tradition as ancient as music itself."The Times (UK)
"...gives a lie to the aphorism that 'white men can't drum'...one walked away knackered"Weekly Spectator (Ghana)
"But earlier in the day came a reminder that Birtwistle is after all a master of vast spans of time and the big elemental gesture. This was ’For O, For O, the Hobby-Horse is Forgot’, an immense musical ritual for 6 percussionists. It takes great concentration to keep this work’s underlying pulse steady despite the tumult, and great conviction to make the silent rhythmic gestures Birtwistle asks for compelling rather than self-consciously ’theatrical’. On both counts, the performers of Ensemble Bash came up trumps."The Daily Telegraph (UK)
"...left the audience agape with shock and excitement... nothing was more spectacular than the dexterity of these gentlemen on Ghanaian drums, playing with so much zeal as though they were localites."The Ghanaian Chronicle (Ghana)
"Haben Bleichgesichter den Groove? Wenn ihre Seele groovt, warum nicht?"Hamburger Morgenpost (Germany)
"Like a great string quartet or jazz group, the four percussionists of Ensemble Bash seem to have developed that almost telepathic form of ensemble communication, an empathy that allows them to play a wide range of genres with accuracy and gusto.
But unlike the Modern Jazz Quartet or Kronos, they don't have an ensemble 'sound'. The nature of their calling means that each member plays at least a dozen different instruments ~tuned and otherwise~ from all over the world.
What makes Ensemble Bash distinctive is their way of doing things, plus a variable but expanding repertoire of percussion quartet pieces they have built up through commissions and adaptations.
And however adventurous Ensemble Bash's programme might be, they had the commercial nous to include at least one classic work by a dead composer. Second Construction, by John Cage, was a highlight of the concert, given an appropriately sensitive and reverent performance in the beautiful ambience of Christ Church."
The Independent (UK)
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