Press Review

"On Friday night the towering figure of Luciano Berio, who died in May, was the subject of a warm tribute by the Ex Novo Ensemble from Venice. Berio came to Huddersfield several times, but surely this posthumous appearance was his finest. A full house at St Paul’s Hall lapped up some of the most joyful all-Italian music-making by Ex Novo, in a programme featuring two of Berio’s landmark Sequenza works and superbly played works by Franco Donatoni, Emanuele Casale and Claudio Ambrosini. The Berio bits, his Sequenzas for solo flute and solo piano, were intriguing. Rarely will you hear the flute flutter around a concert hall in such a beautiful and playful display of virtuosity. As for the piano Sequenza, I’ll never forget the way the pianist Aldo Orvieto screwed up his eyes and peered into the thick black ink of a score into which this darling of the avant-garde had deliberately written too many notes. Orvieto’s mastery of his instrument was awesome." (M. Connolly, The Times, London)

"...The Berio tribute was a slender one, a handful of the solo Sequenzas (the ones for flute, piano, voice), but its performers produced some of the festival's most memorable performances. The Ex Novo Ensemble, from Italy, included pieces by Donatoni, ... and the extraordinary De Vulgari Eloquentia by Claudio Ambrosini. Ambrosini employs a mixed quintet (piano, flute, clarinet, violin and cello) to produce some of the most glittering piano writing you could imagine, and he uses the other instruments to touch up, as it were, by tint or highlight, the character of the piano." (Michael Dervan , Irish Time)

"... at the "De Ijsbreker" theatre we heard quality music making and virtuoso playing " (P. van Emmerik, Het Parool, Amsterdam)

" must be said that these works by Aracil and Ambrosini had the good fortune to be played by the Ex Novo Ensemble, conducted by Ambrosini himself; the group is so inside this music that it is as if the interpreters were the composers themselves." (Dino Villatico, La Repubblica)

"the playing of the Ex Novo Ensemble was outstanding and was continuously seconded by the fine playing of pianist Aldo 0rvieto." (G. Pugliaro, Piano Time)

"...on behalf of contemporary music we had the very impressive playing of the Ex Novo Ensemble (...). Naturally this ensemble's excellent playing and fabulous wind instruments contributed greatly to the success of the evening." (E. Jachimovicz, Die Presse, Salzburg).

"...the musicians showed their sensitivity as chamber musicians and their total control over extremely lively passages, here flautist Daniele Ruggieri and violinist Carlo Lazari stood out particularly, with their vibrant tone and harmonious phrasing." (Neue Tiroler Zeitung, ).

"...then we had the Orchestre de Paris (conducted by Boulez), The Mediterranean Youth Orchestra and the Ex Novo Ensemble conducted by Ambrosini which has become a household name in contemporary music. They guaranteed a quality of performance that is usually not reached at festivals. Yet another reason not to miss their performances." (M. Zurletti, La Repubblica).

"...Vivaldi, Donizetti and especially Boccherini's quintet for flute, oboe and strings showed us the players' virtuosity at its best. (...) Ambrosini makes the most of the technique, consummate virtuoso playing and musicality of his excellent musicians. (...) the organisers can be proud of having discovered the Ex Novo Ensemble" (L. Garde, Dauphinè Liberè, Grenoble)

"...the interpretation was excellent, rhythmic, with nicely balanced colours. The concert concluded with a very graceful performance of Boccherini's quintet for flute, oboe and strings." (Laaste Niew, Brussels).

"...'sofferte onde serene'... by Luigi Nono was given an excellent performance by the pianist Aldo Orvieto (...). ...Claudio Ambrosini knows how to get the very best of his Ensemble, above all the fabulous clarinettist Davide Teodoro". (K.R. Lienert, Tages Anzeiger).

"... playing was of the highest level, guided by a professional certainty which highlighted, alongside technical brilliance, mature musical expression, always well balanced and penetrating at the same time." (M. Tonegutti, La Nuova Venezia).

"...the Ex Novo Ensemble, one of those rare groups that can impeccably decipher the hermetic labyrinths of new music." (M. Messinis, Il Gazzettino, Venice ).

"...but the most extraordinary evening was given by the Venetian ensemble. It was without doubt one of the recent highlights here in L'Aquila. There are many reasons for this success: this group can count on young musicians with an extraordinarily refined technique and their programmes are chosen with the sharpness typical of a talented composer.(...) the most accomplished aspect of their language is their timbre (...). We were given the opportunity of hearing "Serenata per un satellite" by Maderna (fascinating Marimba played by Annunziata Dellisanti) (...) the demanding...sofferte onde serene... by Nono, with the superb pianist Aldo Orvieto." (W. Tortoreto, Piano Time).

"...the beautiful programme was played exquisitely and with the utmost precision by the Ex Novo Ensemble, a group that can play the most varied combinations of chamber music. A great success." (M. Messinis, Il Gazzettino, Venice).

"...Stravinsky's unmistakable language, made of instrumental colour and incisive rhythms was brought to us with precision and sharpness by the interpreters Carlo Lazari (violin), Davide Teodoro (clarinet) and Aldo Orvieto (piano). (...) the musicians of the Ex Novo Ensemble gave an uncompromising performance underlining the personality of each work by stressing differences and continuity, the evening acquired a cultural dimension which transcended that of a mere performance." (G. Piras, La Nuova Sardegna, Cagliari).

"...Within the ingenious vitality of "Satellite sereno" by Claudio Ambrosini the integration of electronic and instruments was accomplished magnificently by the excellent Ex Novo Ensemble under the composer's baton." (P. Petazzi, L'Unità).

"...the intense, precise and deeply thought out performance was greeted by ardent applause from a particularly enthusiastic audience. (C. Galla, L'Arena, Verona).

"... In 'Fragmente-Stille an Diotima' by Luigi Nono the quartet composed of members of the Ex Novo Ensemble gave an exemplary performance..." (M. Merigo, Il Gazzettino, Venice).

"...the evening was dominated by the highly accomplished playing of the Ex Novo Ensemble. Young and enthusiastic, each member was dedicated to serving the music under the baton of Claudio Ambrosini, the musicians gave a lesson in music making... A useful, intelligent and, why not, beautiful evening of music." (La Gazzetta, Reggio Emilia).

"The first part of the cycle "Arcaico, colto e popolaresco" ended last night at Teatro La Fenice with a concert from the Ex Novo Ensemble. The chronological span of the music played ranged from 1918 to 1966, in other words from the Sonata by Milhaud to the 'Sonata a cinque' by Rieti, and included pages from Villa Lobos, Malipiero and Ghedini... The Venetian group could once again be appreciated for their tight-knit single-mindedness, intonation, flawless technique, rhythmic lightness and flexible phrasing... the audience applauded warmly." (R. Mori, La Nuova Venezia).

"the short season held by 'Amici della Musica di Venezia' concluded at Teatro la Fenice with a concert from the Ex Novo Ensemble who played rarely heard music from between the wars... the unusual programme was received attentively and with warm applause for the five soloists from the Ex Novo Ensemble: D. Ruggieri (flute), A. Baccini (oboe), Davide Teodoro (clarinet), Franco Perfetti (bassoon), Aldo Orvieto, (piano)." (M.Messinis, Il Gazzettino, Venice).

"In this portrait of composer Claudio Ambrosini Impeccable performances were turned in by the Venetian Ex Novo Ensemble superbly conducted by Ed Spanjaard. "Trobar Clus" for piano and 11 instruments was perhaps the highlight of the evening: this is an extraordinarily rich, dense composition, a piece exploiting the full instrumental timbres of Ambrosini's mature style, showing his ability to transform instrumental colour like an alchemist, transfiguring these new mixtures of sound through virtuosity and speed and charging them with energy..." (P. Petazzi, L'Unità).

" "sofferte onde serene..." the group's pianist, Aldo Orvieto, gave a profoundly poetic reading..." (S. Martin, Le Soir, Brussels).

"...The interpretation of Pierrot was particularly accomplished and effective underlining the dream-like, hallucinated pathos of these pages of Schoenberg....the eight excellent members of the Ex Novo Ensemble were conducted by Miotto whose interpretation aimed at an almost rarefied, sharply chiselled reading with considerable care given to colour... the performance was greeted with enthusiastic applause and several calls." (F. Zannoni, L'Arena, Verona).

"...the Italian group is made up of nine musicians all of whom are very fine players. And equally fine is their familiarity with the language of their fellow Venetian (Maderna, editor's note.)... "Musica su due dimensioni" written in 1952 is a musical dialogue that may now appear somewhat dated but it was saved by the magnificent performance of flautist Daniele Ruggieri..." (L Hontañon, ABC, Madrid).

"the opening concert was given by the Ex Novo Ensemble who played the quintets for clarinet and strings by Max Reger and Jean Françaix and also a quartet by Reger. The first part of the concert was a passionate reading of Reger's A major Quintet that was greeted with much applause...the second part opened with the light ironic Quintet by Jean Françaix. Davide Teodoro's splendid clarinet playing was positively acrobatic, at times bursting into delightful clown-like antics. The tightly-knit timbre of the string quartet created moments of profound emotion and was an ideal texture for the sharp and enthralling virtuosity of the clarinet..." (David Giovanni Leonardi, Il Messaggero Veneto)

"Played by the Ex Novo Ensemble of Venice the music of the Twentieth century is fascinating: with twenty years of commitment to the language of contemporary music the Ex Novo Ensemble is now highly appreciated for the quality of their performances. Indeed, apart from their obvious individual abilities, the group stands out for its compact sound and homogenous expressiveness which are the results of a deep sense of involvement and sharp musical insight...the musicians proceed with impeccable freshness, giving an interpretation which underlines every detail. ...the fascinating solo "Icaros" by Claudio Ambrosini... revealed the bravura of violinist Carlo Lazari." (P. Ferialdi, Il Piccolo, Trieste).

"the first spontaneous consideration that came to me at the end of the evening was the music of the twentieth century, of the early twentieth century, when played well, is in no way difficult to listen to. The audience confirmed this opinion applauding warmly at the end of each piece. Certainly the Ex Novo know how to create Berg's sound world with rare mastery, refining very intense colours in a way that was perfectly in keeping with the composer's poetry. Equally the Kammersymphonie by Schoenberg was revealed in all its contrapuntal intricacy drawing out all the internal tensions within the music. Even in Schoenberg's version of Strauss's Kaiserwalzer the Ex Novo rightly captured the underlying irony of this work..." (Pier Paolo Rota, Il Gazzettino, Pordenone)