'...the Debussy [was] a successful orchestral exercise that revealed the revolution around the corner...SE's playing was dazzling.' The Herald
'The restful sentimentality of Nostalghia - with melting solo violin melody - had a magical calm. The quirky jazziness of Music of Training and Rest pushed the musical temperature up a notch.' The Scotsman
SE's reputation for excellent string arrangements (established with important commissions from the late Rudolph Barshai) continues with Jonathan Morton's arrangement of Debussy's String Quartet. The variety of string techniques and the wide palette of instrumental colours Debussy employed are all enhanced by the larger string ensemble, particularly in the sumptuously beautiful slow movement.
In addition, the attractively lyrical Girl with the Flaxen Hair has been orchestrated for string ensemble and two harps by Colin Matthews.
Takemitsu's contribution to the string orchestra repertoire includes two contrasting film scores inspired by the French Impressionists. Finishing the album is Takemitsu's hauntingly melancholic Nostalghia, with a heartfelt solo violin melody by Jonathan Morton.
'I rather think Debussy would have smiled on this arrangement of his String Quartet.'
'Engaging performances all, set in the ambience of Caird Hall, Dundee, with lively channel information.'
'Le Scottish Ensemble emporte avec beaucoup de conviction et de ferveur le Quatuor à cordes de Debussy dans l’excellente transcription de Morton...'
American Record Guide
'...the Scottish Ensemble play Jonathan Morton’s arrangement with pure, shimmering, glassy timbre and minimal vibrato...'
'Toru Takemitsu's Nostalghia, forms the memorable conclusion to this impressive new disc from the Scottish Ensemble. The more poignant for its restraint, this miniature concerto for violin and strings requires just the kind of subtly polished playing that Jonathan Morton and his team provide.'
Classical CD Choice
'The pieces arranged by Jonathan Morton (who conducts the Scottish ensemble) are done with such musicality and sensitivity here that only the most unbending of listeners will be able to resist their charm...The Debussy items alone are worth the price of admission.'
'The reason for getting it though is the opportunity it gives to appreciate some rarely heard music.'
The Sunday Times
'Interleaving Debussy and Takemitsu can't fail.'
BBC Radio 3 ‘Record Review’
'...thoughtfully programmed, beautifully recorded.'
'Expansive arrangements of Debussy and Takemitsu with a spirited, imaginative rendering.'
'Nimbleness and rapt eloquence'
Music for Several Instruments Blog
'Everything is at this very high level of passionate music making. The alternating Debussy and Takemitsu pieces are a kind of multi-cultural dance where each composer illuminates the other. A triumph from Scotland!'