CD Reviews

SCHÜTZ – A German in Venice

SCHÜTZ – A German in Venice

Release date April 2024


Available after release date

John Frederick Lampe: The Dragon of Wantley

John Frederick Lampe: The Dragon of Wantley

Release date July 2022


“It’s full of lively dances and arias and a few noisy, lip-smacking kisses…it fills a gap for students of the 18th-century English stage, but the commitment of these performers creates its own, wider pleasure.”
Fiona Maddocks, The Guardian

“Performed with zest and just the right blend of seriousness and farcical humour.”
BBC Radio 3 Record Review

“This uproarious send-up of Handelian operatic conventions (transposed to a Yorkshire village and complete with earthy local colloquialisms) works so well because both composer and cast demonstrate are so fully in command of the style that’s being satirised; Bevan and Carby have a riot with the coloratura cat-fight ‘Insulting gypsy, you’re surely tipsy’, whilst Wilde delivers the cod-heroics of ‘Dragon, to atoms I’ll tear thee’ (shades of Acis’s ‘Love sounds the alarm’ here) with just the right amount of tongue-in-cheek braggadocio.”
Presto Music Editor’s Choice

“The cast are all excellent, singing the music with wonderfully po-faced glee and plenty of Handelian style. There is no hint of send-up, and of course that is what makes it so much fun. The singers, instrumentalists and conductor are all able to well hold their own in genuine opera seria, and this stylistic confidence shines through here.”
Planet Hugill 4.5 stars

“In this premiere recording, conductor John Andrews shrewdly reserves buffoonery for Carey and Lampe’s antic scenes, heightening the galant elements of duets and ensembles, and giving performers space for arresting explorations of Lampe’s lyricism. In the showpiece ‘Gentle Knight’, soprano Mary Bevan gently wraps stunning ascending embellishments around the oboe’s melody. In the big lament aria, cellist Tatty Theo enriches the subtle articulation and rich timbres of mezzo-soprano Catherine Carby with her own. By contrast, tenor Mark Wilde as the knight and bass-baritone John Savournin as a squire and the dragon have great fun with the work’s excesses, Wilde prefacing his runs with vulgar gulps and Savournin growling absurdly.”
BBC Music Magazine, Opera and Editor’s Choice, 5 *s

“What a surprise! This comic opera, popular in its day, has been languishing as a passing reference in the history books. Now it has been brought to life in this excellent performance by The Brook Street Band under John Andrews.”
Gramophone Magazine, Editor’s Choice

“With sunny support from the brilliant Brook Street Band and John Andrews’s insouciant direction, this is a Dragon’s dish to savour”
Opera Magazine

Thomas Arne: The Judgment of Paris

Thomas Arne: The Judgment of Paris

Release date May 2019


‘The performance is lovely. John Andrews conducts with flair and style, and there’s some delectable playing from The Brook Street Band.’
Gramophone Magazine

‘It’s all sung with a suitable lightness of touch, with sparkling accompaniment from The Brook Street Band, all artfully directed by John Andrews.’
The Observer

‘Andrews’s stylish conducting makes a strong case for this English baroque discovery.’
The Sunday Times

‘The playing is delightfully buoyant, the recording intimately truthful.’
Radio 3 Record Review

‘This performance, by the Brook Street Band is absolutely magisterial. Do not be fooled by the more familiar connotations of its titular designation. The Brook Street Band is glorious.  Named for the London street on which Handel lived for much of his London residency, and best regarded for its handling of his repertoire, the Band was formed in 1996 by baroque cellist Tatty Theo and here comprises three first violins, two second violins, two violas, double bass, timpani, bassoon, a Flemish petit ravelment two manual harpsichord, two trumpeters, flautists and oboes, Theo, of course, supplies cello continuo.’
Goldmine Mag

 ‘BSB’s chamber dimensions lend the performance a likeable intimacy and vivacity.’
Classical Source

‘The Brook Street Band, expanded beyond the group’s usual chamber proportions to 18, play Arne’s music with style.’
Planet Hugill

Handel: Sonatas for Violin and Basso Continuo

Handel: Sonatas for Violin and Basso Continuo

Release date June 2018


Hijinks from Handel … Lovely playing from the first sonata right through the last … the performances convince absolutely as does the recordingAdd it to The Brook Street Band’s previous albums with complete confidence.’
BBC Radio 3 Record Review

‘This release is a thorough pleasure … Sample one of the fast movements…to hear the vigorous, strongly rhythmic, rather edgy approach favoured by these musicians. Especially noteworthy are the slow-movement gestures of violinist Rachel Harris, which convince the listener that they were the work of a master of opera. More than an album for Handel completists, this is a strong release from a British group that has consistently issued historically informed Baroque performances of passion and commitment.’

‘erudite, intimate music, not without violinistic fireworks. The BSB include cello alongside harpsichord for the continuo, satisfyingly grounding the texture. Rachel Harris delivers these eloquent expressions of the violinist’s art with stylish sweetness, her embellishments beautifully measured.’
The Sunday Times

‘none finer than this outstanding recording of Handel’s Sonatas for violin and basso continuo played by The Brook Street Band. The BSB brings the sonatas to life with fresh, eminently stylish accounts, performed with impressive audible detail…Handel’s violin sonatas could hardly receive finer advocacy than these exceptional performances here from The BSB.’
Music Web – Recording of the Month

‘As a trio, the [BSB] perform superbly and wonderfully sympathetically, with Theo and Gibley supporting Harris in an admirable manner…period performances full of musicality and great style. The BSB bring a lovely combination of virtuosity and vibrancy to the performances, really engaging the audience and making you want to listen for more.’
Planet Hugill

 ‘For me, this new offering from The Brook Street Band – as intoxicating and spirited as it is sensitive and feeling – will now be the new benchmark for others to aspire to.’
Music-Web International

 I’m very glad that the BSB have given us all nine [Handel violin sonatas], and all the more so, given the life with which they’ve imbued them… The various ornamentation, articulation and repeat decision have come off brilliantly. You simply don’t know what’s coming next, which I mean in the best possible way. Bravo!’

‘Readers familiar with [The BSB’s] invigorating recordings of Handel’s Trio Sonatas Opp. 2 and 5 will not be disappointed by this new release. The finest music, of which there is much reaches a peak with the D Major sonata HWV371 coming across with natural grace and effective articulation.’
BBC Music Magazine 4 *


Trio Sonatas for Two Violins and Basso Continuo

Trio Sonatas for Two Violins and Basso Continuo

Release date March 2016


‘The Brook Street Band bring some spectacularly fine playing… making this a Handel disc not to be missed’

‘…crisp, lithe, foot tapping rhythms as the Band weaves some very fine lines – a real joy.’

‘A birthday release that will invite many happy returns. The musical language is so second nature to the Band that its playing has the unbuttoned relish of musicians relaxing in a mother tongue. …an incisive verve prevails throughout the disc, buoyed up by a conversational attentiveness that never flags, and ensemble so pin-sharp it merits a safety warning.’
BBC Music Magazine

‘The Brook Street Band bring some spectacularly fine playing to these works, lithe, and beautifully shaped with some lovely sonorities and terrific ensemble, not to mention moments of terrific spontaneity.’
Bruce Reader, The Classical Reviewer, 14th March 2016

‘They bring out a vivacity and joy in all the works, with highly charismatic performances. There is a liveliness and immediacy in their playing of the faster movements, and a nice sense of lyricism in the slower ones.’

‘You sense the players great enjoyment of the music and their eagerness for you to enjoy it to. Technically these are very fine, but it is this sense of joy which makes the disc a must.’
Robert Hugill, Planet Hugill, 11th March 2016

‘The Brook Street Band were born to play Handel. Fresh, lively performances’
David Fay, The Big Issue, 7th March 2016

‘[The band members] approach everything with a spring in their step, relishing the harmonic crunches and keeping everything vital and vivacious.’
Erica Jeal, The Guardian Online, 14th April 2016, 4-star Rating

‘The Sonatas are played with delightful ease and elegance… an exemplary recording where Handel’s inexhaustible inventiveness, even on a smaller, intimate scale, springs wonderfully into life.’
Music Web International

‘Neat and energetic birthday performances’
The Strad

Life-enhancing stuff, and beautifully recorded too’
The Arts Desk

‘Masterly performances’
Gramophone Magazine

‘An absolute cracker of a disc!…One to be treasured!’
Early Music Review 5* Review

Sonatas for viola da gamba and harpsichord

Sonatas for viola da gamba and harpsichord

Release date March 2015


‘Theo and Gibley, founding members of the famed Brook Street Band, give it their all in smashing performances… sturdy, gracious and consistently alert…’
Audio-Video Club of Atlanta

‘…there is a close match between cello and a harpsichord of cutting transients which fits the businesslike virtuosity of much of the playing. Choice of tempi cannot be faulted and rhythm is exact…’
Nalen Anthoni, Gramophone Magazine, May 2015

‘…an impressive recording and some infectious music-making from two performers who clearly take great pleasure in playing together.’
Early Music Today

Handel Trio Sonatas Op. 2

Handel Trio Sonatas Op. 2

Release date October 2013


‘These are grown-up performances from the Brook Street Band. Finely balanced, deliciously spiced, infectiously musical!’
Andrew McGregor, BBC Radio 3 – CD Review, November 2013

‘The Brook Street Band’s performances have a well-blended, soft-textured finish and, rhythmically, an easy grace.’
Michael Dervan, The Irish Times, November 2013, 5-star Rating

‘What an enjoyable recording this is!… The Brook Street Band play with superb style and enthusiasm; they have appropriately varied the instrumentation of the individual sonatatas, and their programme order makes perfect sense… prepare to be beguiled…’
Alistair Harper, Early Music Review, December 2013

‘…the music is unfailingly graceful and inventive and, in the hands of sensitive musicians such as these, it springs to life from the written page.’
Nicholas Anderson, Early Music Today, December 2013, 4-star Rating

Dixit Dominus – A. Scarlatti, Handel

Dixit Dominus – A. Scarlatti, Handel

Release date May 2013


‘…an absolutely superb performance here from the Brook Street Band and the Choir of Queen’s College, Oxford. …everything about this album represents British Baroque performance at its best.’
James Manheim,, July 2013, 5-star Rating

‘The playing of The Brook Street band is mouth-watering in its simple quality of musicianship, a standardard that is upheld throughout… A disc of unusually high calibre.’
Malcolm Hayes, Early Music Review, August 2013

‘…performances of the highest quality, with the Queen’s choir at its best and the alert instrumentalists fully committed in their playing… Highly recommended.’
David Ponsford, Choir & Organ, September 2013, 5-star Rating

J S Bach Trio Sonatas

J S Bach Trio Sonatas

Release date October 2010


‘With unaffected performances of remarkable freshness and vitality… the exuberance is all BSB’s own. [Tatty] Theo’s bass is clear and firm throughout, providing a centre of gravity for violinists Rachel Harris and Farran Scott to really dance… The variety of string articulation together with [Carolyn] Gibley’s discrete harmonisations further serve both to enliven and to elucidate Bach’s musical arguments. Superb… This is a must-have album.’
Gramophone Magazine Editor’s Choice, William Yeoman, Gramophone Magazine, January 2011

‘…The Brook Street Band plays stylishly, with well-nigh impeccable intonation and tremendous verve… Delightful.’
George Pratt, BBC Music Magazine, November 2010, 4-star rating

‘The Brook Street Band has a trademark playing style that’s communicative, energetic and very very zingy in every department… the playing has such deftness and verve that time flies by… in chamber music from this period, you won’t find more winning and winsome playing.’
Malcolm Hayes, Classic FM Magazine, March 2011, 4-star rating

Handel’s English Cantatas

Handel’s English Cantatas

Release date September 2008


‘…Nicki Kennedy and Sally Bruce-Payne are superb vocalists, every English diphthong beautifully articulated, but the big hand belongs to the four-piece band… for the richness of their sound, a delight from start to close.’
Norman Lebrecht, Evening Standard, December 2008, 5-star review + pick of the week

‘…the Band is as deliciously poised and pertinent as ever.’
BBC Music Magazine, January 2009

‘Handel recycles some of his best tunes in vocal music that’s a fresh as a summer’s day. Lovely ensemble playing and expressive soloists.’
Classic FM Magazine, January 2009

‘As always, The Brook Street Band has a delightfully light touch, never solemn, and they are beautifully complemented here by the clear Baroque soprano of Nicki Kennedy and the rich alto of Sally Bruce-Payne.’
HMV Choice, Sept/Oct 08

‘Essential listening for all Handelians, and the performances are first class.’
Early Music Review

Handel ‘Cello’ Sonatas

Handel ‘Cello’ Sonatas

Release date February 2007


‘…The enterprising Brook Street Band… the infectious enthusiasm of these all-female virtuosi seems likely to bring them another Classic FM hit.’
Anthony Holden, The Observer, March 2007

‘Bags of charm on this disc of transcribed recorder sonatas. Theo’s Baroque cello plays mostly high where the tone is dry and appealing.’
Classic FM Magazine, March 2007, 4-star Review

‘…These performances have a powerful stamp of authority about them… Theo’s beautiful sense of line and utterly natural phrasing. Perhaps the most striking thing about these performances is the sense of total unity between both players. These are two musicians coalesced into a single entity, dancing with a wonderful unanimity of purpose… Handel himself would have found real cause for celebration.’
International Record Review, March 2007

‘…a rave review… so convincing are Tatty Theo and Carolyn Gibley’s accounts of them… all beautifully balanced… please do enjoy this unusual and unexpected delight!’
Early Music Review, April 2007

‘…vivacious and ardent music making… a thoroughly enjoyable and expertly played CD’
Goldberg Magazine, May 2007

‘…the playing of the two-person Brook Street Band is expressive and lively… the impact made by this music and its persuasive and technically brilliant advocates here… This CD is recommended… The whole is pleasing, very pleasing’
MusicWeb, April 2007

Handel Trio Sonatas Opus 5

Handel Trio Sonatas Opus 5

Release date July 2005


‘…the Brook Street Band. The smartest new baroque band around, they deliver these seven sonatas with consistent panache and musicality… if you need instant sunshine, play this disc.’
Geoff Brown, The Times, July 2005 4-star Rating

‘so infectious is the enthusiasm of these gifted players for their Baroque master that you will find it hard to suppress a smile at the sheer energy and effervescence that bounce out of this disc’
Anthony Holden, The Observer, July 2005

‘The Brook Street Band are a lively ensemble of period instrumentalists, always stylish, occasionally daring in their expressive response to this glorious music…’
Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times, July 2005

‘The four members of the Band play with flawless ensemble and beautifully controlled intonation, their unruffled and confident approach underlined by their generally comfortable pacing…’
International Record Review, Christopher Price, November 2005

‘The Band is highly polished… and infectiously enthusiastic’
BBC Music Magazine, 4-star Review

‘They play Handel with sprightliness and a joie de vivre that lets you know this composer will never go out of style… the performances on this CD have such spontaneity…’
Atlanta Audio Society Classik Reviews, December 2005

‘[Handel Trio Sonatas Op.5 No.4] was the highlight of the afternoon and no member of the audience managed to keep their feet still. Everything about this seemed perfectly judged: the precipitous glissandi from Rachel Harris on first violin, echoed by Farran Scott on second, with spot-on tuning and improvisatory feel throughout’
Planet Hugill, March, 2016 – review of concert, St. John’s Smith Square, London, 28-Feb-2016

Handel Oxford Water Music

Handel Oxford Water Music

Release date November 2003


‘The Brook Street Band… are gaining quite a reputation for their stylish and imaginative programmes. They bring a delightful freshness and lack of affectation… playing in a vivacious style… that makes it very clear that they are enjoying themselves. Their pleasure in the music is infectious.’
Gramophone Magazine Editor’s Choice, Stanley Sadie, Gramophone Magazine, February 2004

…The Brook Street Band… play with style and zest, keeping the rhythms light and springy and ornamenting deftly… eager continuo… delightful music-making, with violinists sparring elegantly in the faster numbers and bringing a delicate sense of timing and colour to the slow movements.’
Richard Wigmore, BBC Music Magazine, March 2004, Double 4-star Rating

‘No matter how many recordings of this music you may already have, if you buy one Baroque music disk this year, let it be this one… It is a tremendous pleasure to be a reviewer when a disk like this comes along… [a] magical balance of crispness, bounce, swing, sweetness and dignity… The Brook Street Band are stratospheric in quality…’
Paul Shoemaker, Music Web, Recording of the Month, December 2003

‘It’s a delight to hear vigorous yet informed playing, combined with such a crisp, well-balanced recording… Well researched and compiled… the accomplished performances of Handel’s earliest version of the famous Water Music suites are fresh and sparky, enlivening this all-too familiar music.’
Jane Jones – Classic FM, February 2004, 4-star Rating