Retrospect Ensemble is London's exciting new period instrument orchestra and choir. Founded in 2009 the group has already undertaken major concert tours to the Far East, Middle East and Europe and performed at a number of prestigious UK festivals. Directed by Matthew Halls, one of the UK's most dynamic young conductors and acclaimed keyboard players, Retrospect Ensemble is taking its musicians and audiences on a new journey - exploring the repertoire of four centuries, embracing the practices, styles and aesthetics of former ages with renewed vigour and a fresh approach.
December 2012 - latest reviews of Bach Harpsichord Concertos CD
The Sunday Times (18 November 2012)
'After a period during which pianists have again laid claim to Bach's keyboard concertos, it is refreshing to encounter them in a context that their composer might have recognised: music da camera, or chamber music. At least, that is how these glorious concertos come across in Matthew Halls's nimble, improvisatory hands, and those of his five string colleagues and two recorder players. Halls directs the performance from the harpsichord, never dominating the tuttis, but exploiting a free-ranging fantasy in his stylishly decorated solo passages. The concertos sound pristine and revealed anew, like cleaned Old Master paintings. More, please.'
The Irish Times (1 December 2012)
'The four concertos all sound well in the form they've come down to us, and Matthew Halls's performances, directed from the keyboard with the single strings of his Retrospect Ensemble, are not just stylish but also sensitively recorded, so that the harpsichord is blended with the other instruments in a realistic manner rather than artificially spotlit.'
Read more reviews on the Linn Records website.
September 2012 - JS Bach Harpsichord Concertos CD release
Our highly acclaimed series of recordings continues with the recent release of JS Bach’s Harpsichord Concertos. Full of dazzling virtuosic passages and incredible solo cadenzas, they provide a mesmerising showcase of director Matthew Halls’s keyboard virtuosity and the ensemble’s affinity with Bach.
The recording will feature as ‘Disc of the Month’ in the December issue of the BBC Music Magazine.
You can find more information on this recording on the Linn Records website.
March 2012 - Review of Handel's Amadigi di Gaula at Wigmore Hall
Opera Britannia review by Miranda Jackson, 12 March 2012
“I was privileged to hear my first performance of Handel’s Amadigi di Gaula at Wigmore Hall on 7th March in the very capable hands of Retrospect Ensemble, directed from the harpsichord by Matthew Halls… I would urge all you opera seria fans out there to look out for the next opera performances by Retrospect Ensemble. If the singers, players, direction and interpretation are half as good next time as they were at the Wigmore, I can guarantee this will be a ‘must-see’ event.”
Read the full review on the Opera Britannia website.
February 2012 - BBC Radio 3 broadcast on Sunday 26 February
Our concert of Polish Baroque music recorded at the Lufthansa Festival in St John's Smith Square in May 2011 will be featured on BBC Radio 3's Early Music Show on Sunday 26 February at 13.00. The programme features rarely heard vocal and instrumental works by Zielenski, Jarzebski, Gorczycki, Szarzynski and Stachowicz.
January 2012 - Review of New Year's Eve concert at Wigmore Hall
Sunday Times Culture section, 15 January 2012:
Even the New Year’s Eve event did not slip below the level of the vividly arresting. Matthew Halls’s Retrospect Ensemble offered an all-Bach programme whose crisp realisation involved a rather more than chamber-sized ensemble on the exiguous platform, even if the cantata Unser Mund sei voll Lachens (BWV 110) and the Magnificat in D (BWV 243) were given in the modern, period-conscious way, grouping the vocal soloists together as the chorus. Among the solo singing, the alto of Christopher Ainslie was notably textured and expressive. Halls’s own harpsichord-playing in the other item, Brandenburg Concerto No 5, was magnificently businesslike, and Rachel Brown’s flute-playing exquisite. One noted how the mere addition of a flute to a string quintet made the accompaniment plausibly orchestral.
August 2011 - Second Gramophone Award nomination for Retrospect
For the second time in as many years, Retrospect has been nominated for a coveted Gramophone Award. This year the group's recent recording of Bach's Easter and Ascension Oratorios has attracted the attention of the judges and has been named as one of the six finalists in the Baroque Vocal category. Described by the Sunday Times as "top-drawer Bach throughout" (Classical CD of the Week) and hailed by critics as a "landmark" Bach recording, this recent release is available in CD and download formats via the Linn Records website.
August 2011 - New Purcell Recording
We are delighted to announce the release of our latest CD featuring the sublime music of Henry Purcell. This second volume of Purcell Sonatas by Retrospect Trio has been hotly anticipated since its debut recording, a Finalist at the 2009 Gramophone Awards, was released; BBC Music Magazine described the follow up as "a mouthwatering matter of urgency." You can find more information on this recording on the Linn Records website.
August 2011 - Trio returns from Finland
The four members of Retrospect Trio (violinists Matthew Truscott and Sophie Gent, cellist/gambist Jonathan Manson and harpsichordist Matthew Halls) have just returned from their debut appearance at the Vantaa Festival in Helsinki, where they were previewing their new disc of Purcell Sonatas (to be released in September). You can view video excerpts of this concert online. Purcell's Sonata in three parts number III and 'O Solitude' (with soprano Julia Doyle) were amongst the musical highlights of this memorable concert.
March 2011 - Bach Easter Oratorio now available for download
April 4th marks the official release date of our latest recording on the award-winning Linn Records label. A world-class solo lineup and the combined forces of Retrospect Ensemble and Choir offer rousing performances of Bach's Easter and Ascension Oratorio. The disc is already receiving praise from the critics!
"MUSICAL highs don't come much better than a good dose of Bach in "rejoice" mode. So here's a double dose – a coupling of the Easter and Ascension Oratorios, served up with tingling and ecstatic energy by the excellent Retrospect Ensemble. Three components combine with single-minded unity and intent: the vital but stylistic flair of the small chorus; the poetic eloquence and lack of preciousness of the period instruments; and a star-studded band of soloists that include the purebred lustre of soprano Carolyn Sampson, resplendent tenor James Gilchrist, and the furiously agile countertenor Iestyn Davies. Conductor Matthew Halls gleans warmth from this wonderful music."
***** Kenneth Walton, The Scotsman
For more information on the CD - including all currently available download formats - visit the Linn Records website.
October 1st 2010 - Linn Records triumphs at 2010 Gramophone Awards ceremony!
We are delighted to hear the news that Linn Records has been named 'Record Label of the Year' at today's Gramophone Awards ceremony in London.
"Linn is the very model of a modern record company, ensuring that the highest standards are maintained from the studio right through the company’s very impressive digital store. Shrewd A&R and matching ear-catching musicianship to appropriate repertoire, creates a sense of anticipation around every release.”
James Jolly, Editor-in-Chief, Gramophone Magazine.
You can read the press release here.
Wednesday 31st December 1969, 18:00
a spellbinding concert... [Matthew Halls] inspired lithe performances from the vocal and instrumental ensembles, who constantly rearranged themselves with well-rehearsed assurance. The stones of Venice may crumble and sink but its music, with performances of this joy and sophistication, is imperishable.
The Evening Standard
Listen to us
S'Accenda Pur Di Festa Il Cor
Parnasso In Festa, GF Handel, HWV 73
Sonata V in G minor - Canzona
Purcell: 10 sonatas in 4 parts