Reviews of Robert Hugill's Music



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When a Man Knows - 21/3/2011 to 2/4/2011
FifteenB Productions presented the first stage performance of my opera When a Man Knows at the Bridewell Theatre, in a production directed by Ian Caddy with lighting by Matt Haskins. The opera was reviewed by both the Classical Iconoclast and Opera Britannia blogs.

'Robert Hugill's When a Man Knows needs to transfer to somewhere higher profile, where it can get the exposure it deserves. This is what good chamber opera should be like. It's modern, yet not so experimental that it can't reach out and draw an audience in. It's compact, too, and travels well.'
'What I liked most about Hugill's When a Man Knows is the abstraction and spartan simplicity. This allows for endless possibilities. ' - See full review at Classical Iconoclast

'South sang a frustrated, angry, all over the place emotional wreck of a woman, who ultimately wanted revenge. She presented us with complexity and passion in both voice and aspect. '
'.....courtesy of a dramatic turn by Zoe South (announcing her reason for kidnapping "The Man"), it was truly stunning, and as an audience member it literally smacked you in the face with its intensity.'
- See full review at Opera Britannia

Chapelle du Roi - 19/12/2009
The Chapelle du Roi, under their conductor Alistair Dixon, premiered my motet Videte Miraculum at their concert at St. John's Smith Square, London, on Saturday 19th December 2009. The concert was covered by both Ivan Hewett of the Daily Telegraph web-site and Seen and Heard.

'Robert Hugill's Videte Miraculum soared too, especially at its ending, with the three sopranos perched at a perilous altitude (to their credit, they never wavered).' - see full review at www.telegraph.co.uk

'This had a lovely opening and a simple, well considered structure, with the harmonies based in tonality but moving gradually to build up tension through dissonance. Hugill made use of parallel and contrary motion to excellent effect, and motivic sections returned to give a sense of overall coherence. He also used a wide range of textures, including unisons, octaves and polyphony in different numbers of parts. This was another well written work which deserves further performances.' - see full review at Seen and Heard

The concert was also in Mark Pappenheim's list of Top 10 concerts in The Independent on 19th December 2009.

London Concord Singers - 15/7/2009
London Concord Singers performance of The Woodward Scale on 15th July 2009 was reviewed on the Seen and Heard web site.

'this most refined of choral composers' - see full review here.

London Concord Singers - 10/7/2008
London Concord Singers performance of Deus in Adjutorium on 10th July 2008 was reviewed on the Seen and Heard web site.

'Robert Hugill’s Deus in adjutorium , one in a projected series of 70 motets - 35 of which have been completed so far - of settings of all the Introit texts for all the Sundays and major church festivals, used both the declamatory and the polyphonic. A solo tenor, well sung by Margaret Jackson-Roberts, one of two female tenors in the group, acting as a kind of narrator, leading the choir into a prayer to “Let my enemies be confounded…” with music that seems to be of the utmost simplicity, but is in fact well thought out and carefully designed to illuminate the words. How wonderful to hear a contemporary work where the composer actually cares about the text he is setting and writes music that is so grateful to sing. Hugill is himself a singer, and a member of this choir, so he knows how to write for the group's voices and this showed in every bar. This was my first hearing of Hugill’s music and it made me want to hear more.' see full review here.

Testament of Dr. Cranmer CD - 2008
My CD on the Divine Art Label, tenor Christopher Watson, organist Paul Ayres, the eight:fifteen vocal ensemble and the strings of the Chameleon Arts Orchestra, all under conductor Paul Brough, perform a selection of my choral and vocal music. Full details of the artists and the works recorded plus are available at Divine Art, here.
Review on Classical Source

“Hugill’s style is attractive and accessible, though far from anodyne… a practical church composer of real inspiration… an original, yet highly personable voice. Tenor Christopher Watson gives poised dignity… while Simon Baggs is equally eloquent. The strings of the Chameleon Arts Orchestra provide solid support. Conductor Paul Brough oversees proceedings with a precision and restraint that suites Hugill’s pellucid texture” – William Yeoman (Classical Source)

"[Christopher Watson's] beauty of sound appears effortless, yet he brings the impassioned moments directly to our attention with style. The eight voices of the ‘eight:fifteen’ vocal ensemble produce a radiant sound...Brough capably directs the two very different groups of musicians with considerable aplomb. This is a disc of initial unknowns, but the end result is delightful." - Will Dawes (Church Music Quarterly)

“A strong use of strings characterises this album, in the strong spiritual sense which runs through all the works. For example in Faith Hope and Charity the sublime music of the solo violin has the effect of easing troubled spirits.”- Francesca Guerrasio (ResMusica)

“Overall the music is sincere and communicative and it’s expertly performed. Several passages are searingly dramatic but there are a number of more meditative, prayerful sections. This well produced disc features committed performances from musicians who serve Robert Hugill well. The sound is excellent and the documentation, including notes by the composer, is very good” – John Quinn (MusicWeb)

“A well played performance, anyone with a hankering for getting deeper into some church oriented programs is well advised to open an ear in this direction.” - Chris Spector (Midwest Record ,USA)

“The Testament of Dr Cranmer, an interestingly made musical account of the close of Dr Cranmer's life… contains some beautifully taught harmonic pungency. The choral singers are excellent, and Christopher Watson has a most appealing tenor voice, featuring in two pieces with string orchestra. The four Latin motets from Hugill's collection Tempus per Annum, all must appeal to any church choir. The performances are excellent and the recording serves both singers and orchestra well and makes listening a pleasure.” - Patric Standford (Music & Vision)

Extracts of all the recent reviews are here

SELECTED REVIEWS
The Chapelle du Roi, under their conductor Alistair Dixon, premiered my motet Videte Miraculum at their concert at St. John's Smith Square, London, on Saturday 19th December 2009. The concert was covered by both Ivan Hewett of the Daily Telegraph web-site and Seen and Heard, the concert was also in Mark Pappenheim's list of Top 10 concerts in The Independent.

'Robert Hugill's Videte Miraculum soared too, especially at its ending, with the three sopranos perched at a perilous altitude (to their credit, they never wavered).' - see full review at www.telegraph.co.uk

'This had a lovely opening and a simple, well considered structure, with the harmonies based in tonality but moving gradually to build up tension through dissonance. Hugill made use of parallel and contrary motion to excellent effect, and motivic sections returned to give a sense of overall coherence. He also used a wide range of textures, including unisons, octaves and polyphony in different numbers of parts. This was another well written work which deserves further performances.' - see full review at Seen and Heard

London Concord Singers performance of Deus in Adjutorium on 10th July was reviewed by on the Seen and Heard web site.

'Robert Hugill’s Deus in adjutorium , one in a projected series of 70 motets - 35 of which have been completed so far - of settings of all the Introit texts for all the Sundays and major church festivals, used both the declamatory and the polyphonic. A solo tenor, well sung by Margaret Jackson-Roberts, one of two female tenors in the group, acting as a kind of narrator, leading the choir into a prayer to “Let my enemies be confounded…” with music that seems to be of the utmost simplicity, but is in fact well thought out and carefully designed to illuminate the words. How wonderful to hear a contemporary work where the composer actually cares about the text he is setting and writes music that is so grateful to sing. Hugill is himself a singer, and a member of this choir, so he knows how to write for the group's voices and this showed in every bar. This was my first hearing of Hugill’s music and it made me want to hear more.' Read the full review here.

The Testament of Dr Cranmer on Classical Source

“Hugill’s style is attractive and accessible, though far from anodyne… a practical church composer of real inspiration… an original, yet highly personable voice. Tenor Christopher Watson gives poised dignity… while Simon Baggs is equally eloquent. The strings of the Chameleon Arts Orchestra provide solid support. Conductor Paul Brough oversees proceedings with a precision and restraint that suites Hugill’s pellucid texture” – William Yeoman (Classical Source)

"[Christopher Watson's] beauty of sound appears effortless, yet he brings the impassioned moments directly to our attention with style. The eight voices of the ‘eight:fifteen’ vocal ensemble produce a radiant sound...Brough capably directs the two very different groups of musicians with considerable aplomb. This is a disc of initial unknowns, but the end result is delightful." - Will Dawes (Church Music Quarterly)

“A strong use of strings characterises this album, in the strong spiritual sense which runs through all the works. For example in Faith Hope and Charity the sublime music of the solo violin has the effect of easing troubled spirits.”- Francesca Guerrasio (ResMusica)

“Overall the music is sincere and communicative and it’s expertly performed. Several passages are searingly dramatic but there are a number of more meditative, prayerful sections. This well produced disc features committed performances from musicians who serve Robert Hugill well. The sound is excellent and the documentation, including notes by the composer, is very good” – John Quinn (MusicWeb)

“A well played performance, anyone with a hankering for getting deeper into some church oriented programs is well advised to open an ear in this direction.” - Chris Spector (Midwest Record ,USA)

“The Testament of Dr Cranmer, an interestingly made musical account of the close of Dr Cranmer's life… contains some beautifully taught harmonic pungency. The choral singers are excellent, and Christopher Watson has a most appealing tenor voice, featuring in two pieces with string orchestra. The four Latin motets from Hugill's collection Tempus per Annum, all must appeal to any church choir. The performances are excellent and the recording serves both singers and orchestra well and makes listening a pleasure.” - Patric Standford (Music & Vision)

Extracts of all the recent reviews are here

"You are a fresh and original composer and deserve all possible encouragement",Malcolm Williamson late Master of the Queen's Music