What They Say
Newly released CD: November 2019: Secret Life of Carols (First Hand Records FHR94)
“This four part ensemble produces a haunting sound, harking back to medieval times, with the combination of female voices, harps and drum. This production reposits a more resolutely folk approach to the singing of carols, enthused with vitality and rhythm."
Lark Reviews (Nov 2019) on Secret Life of Carols [CD]
★★★★ Performance | ★★★★★ Recording
“beguiling, Siren-like voices.. the fervent, florid chants of Hildegard of Bingen – so fragrant you can almost smell them…. The vocal colours of the two principal singers complement each other well: Clare Norburn’s clear, silvery, bell-like soprano just the foil for Ariane Prüssner’s resonant wine-dark tones…. There is an expressive ardour to these performances that is hard to resist.”
BBC Music Magazine, Kate Bolton-Porciatti (Mar 2019) on Gardens of Delight [CD]
"...There are some lovely moments as the medieval harp blends with the female voices in beautiful slow airs … the blended voices work beautifully in the more contemplative repertoire such as is their lovely account of the 14th-century English carol Ther is no rose... this CD provides a pleasing and effective introduction to this repertoire.”
Early Music Review (Jan 2019) on Gardens of Delight [CD]
"We start with a traditional Sephardic song, La rosa enflorese which makes for a beautifully haunting beginning and introduces us to The Telling's highly concentrated style. Finely focussed voices, with minimal vibrato, highly expressive and very concentrated with a single instrument accompanying, and, later on, no instrument at all. [...] Here we concentrate on the music, and on the text, with all three performers making something beautifully pared down.
"With moments like the pairing of Hildegard's Ave generosa and the procession from Ordo Virtutum which concludes the disc... you do wish that they could stay for a bit longer. So we must hope for a further disc!"
Planet Hugill, Robert Hugill (Jan 2019) on Gardens of Delight [CD]
"Inclusive... non-pretentious... I really wish all 'classical' (for want of a better word) concerts were like this"
Morning Star, Attila the Stockbroker (Dec 2018) on our St. Paul's Worthing Christmas concert
“beautifully sung…. a really special musical experience”
Derbyshire Times (July 2018) on Vision
"a multimedia experience of light, song, music & storytelling"
“sung with perfection that is heart-stopping”
Sean Rafferty, BBC Radio 3
"What is most impressive about Norburn’s conception is the way that the various strata and elements combine and cohere so effortlessly. Past and present, truth and fantasy, real and imagined come together in a tightly knit and intimate drama. The personal narrative is embedded neatly within historical, cultural and political contexts...”
Opera Today, Claire Seymour (Jan 2019) on Clare Norburn’s concert/plays
Audience / CD Listeners
“Such exquisite singing, story-telling, stagecraft brought tears to my eyes. I’m sure heaven must sound just like this”
Twitter comment - Vision at St Paul’s Worthing, 2019
“It was one of the most moving productions I have seen in a church. The singing and lighting were celestial.”
Audience member - 2019 Vision tour
"What an incredible event it was last night!! It was so, so beautiful and atmospheric. It was all that I was hoping it would be and more! Such a gorgeous way to start Christmas and to feel so soothed and relaxed. The music was incredible and the storytelling simply transported me to days gone by! I truly loved it as did my friend who came too. I am already looking forward to next year's....please please have another one!!!”
Audience member - 2018 Christmas tour
“I was in the audience… and very taken by the music. Up until a week earlier I was completely unaware of The Telling’s existence. On Saturday 8th I drove my daughter to her carols rehearsal, got in the car to drive home, and turned on the radio. Saturday Live, a programme I never listen to, and I was set to turn it off when you started to sing Lullay, my child, and I was captivated by it. Spellbound, really. A quick search once home and I discovered the St. Thomas More concert and got a ticket. You were all wonderful.”
Audience member - 2018 Christmas tour
“Just a quick note to say how lovely the CD is, such beautiful voices and playing”
Gardens of Delight [CD] listener
“Really fine performers imaginatively supported by an expert technical crew, and clearly an accomplished director! Oh, it was good....! I knew from the moment your voices first started that we were in safe hands…. I have had mountains of praise from members and many asked that I ensure you return to Totnes soon! I view it as one of the most special experiences amongst the 60+ concerts I have arranged.
“From the moment the lights darkened, leaving just the flickering of candles on the altar screen, a large audience sat in rapt silence listening to one of Hildegard's thrilling chants echo around the church… This was not a mere monologue, interspersed with music. The sensitive handling by director Nicholas Renton enabled a series of touching interchanges between the musicians and Hildegard, while Natalie Rowland's highly effective lighting allowed the play of coloured light to reflect Hildegard's memories and indeed her mental state. Glorious white light suffused the stage as Hildegard recalled her visions, which she herself had described as 'the living light'…"
Jill Tomalin, Totnes Early Music Series
“Wonderful performance, three incredible concerts - truly unique. Watching all three shows in the Empowered Women Trilogy in two days worked really well and made perfect sense musically.”
Rebecca Dawson, Music at Oxford
“I just wanted to tell you how wonderful I thought the show was - the singing, the script, the lighting - everything that went to make it an experience that seemed to encompass the very essence of Hildegard.”
Harland Walshaw, Lympstone Entertainments
"Thank you all very much for your splendid performance on Friday. From audience remarks afterwards, you were a hit! And it seems to me the programme hit exactly the right pitch between good fun and seasonal reflection. I think we all left with the better aspects of Christmas on our minds”
Dick Ware, Little Missenden Festival
“evoked something akin to the shared winter night ambience of six centuries ago”
Richard Amey, International Interview Concerts, Worthing
Photo: Robert Piwko