A Royal Trio

Handel; Bononcini; Ariosti

A Royal Trio

La Nuova Musica; David Bates; Lawrence Zazzo [countertenor]




“exceptionally well thought out … Zazzo [is] in glorious voice throughout.”

Nicholas Kenyon – The Observer, 19th October 2014



“[Zazzo] has brought a wonderful and unusual collection of music together here. Exploring beyond the usual Handel standards, he finds some exceptional arias, both from the composer’s own lesser-known works (try Admeto for exquisite surprise after surprise) and those of his rivals. David Bates and La Nuova Musica offer deft support, at their best in the orchestral overtures and sinfonias where they can stretch their stylistic legs…”

Alexandra Coghlan – Sinfini Music, 14th October 2014



“The results provide us with a fascinating insight into the musical world of the London opera house in the 1720’s and help to provide a more balanced view of Handel’s work …  Lawrence Zazzo and David Bates have some up with something a little more imaginative, and give us a wide selection of styles from the simply elegant to the bravura. Zazzo is on peak form and combines the requiste virtuoso fireworks with an elegant sense of line (very necessary in the Bononcini), and all with a lovely warm tone. He is well supported by David Bates and La Nuova Musica, who give stylish support and provide a lovely involving performance. This is certainly one of those discs which I will come back to.”

Robert Hugill – Planet Hugill, 9th November 2014



“as Lawrence Zazzo and David Bates’s superbly responsive period band confirm, the two Italians were were skilled operatic professionals whose best numbers could easily pass for Handel … A natural theatre animal, Zazzo ‘lives’ each phase of the grieving accompanied recitative, always alive to the sound and meaning of the words, and phrases and colours eloquently in the aria that follows … I enjoyed this snapshot of London’s operatic life almost without reservation. Zazzo and the players – not least the fabulous horns – have all the boldness and virtuoso panache one could wish for in the extrovert arias”

Richard Wigmore – Gramophone, November 2014


“an operatic power house in London which, along with Lawrence Zazzo’s genius as a countertenor, is the inspiration for this CD. Indeed, Zazzo’s genius as a countertenor are immediately displayed with his vigorous interpretation of Handel’s ‘Rompo I lacci’ from Flavio … Each piece showcases the sheer skill of Lawrence Zazzo and the demands placed on his voice.”

Michael Schwartz – The Whole Note, November 2014



“[Zazzo gives] committed and dramatically excellent renditions of these roles. The surround sound is outstanding, and the production values rank with harmonia mundi’s best, which is always considerable.”

Steven Ritter – Audiophile Audition, 11th November 2014


“This is an exceptionally interesting and well researched release … The playing is superb throughout”

Alastair Harper – Early Music Review, December 2014



Charpentier & Carissimi Sacrifices

Charpentier & Carissimi Sacrifices

La Nuova Musica, David Bates


“Without the harrowing visual element one can more easily appreciate how intensely moving these cantatas are in their own right. Sacrifice may be the theme but sensuality predominates. Beautiful, cleanly etched singing and playing”

Richard Morrison – The Times, 26th July 2014


“This inspired coupling brings together three of the most powerful small-scale early oratorios: Charpentier’s Le Reniement de Saint Pierre, telling of St Peter’s denial of Christ, lasts less than 15 minutes but is as wrenchingly emotional as any Passion, and its final chorus as Peter weeps is one of the most crushingly dissonant passages in the music of the 17th century; his story of the sacrifice of Abraham (pre-echoing Britten’s first Canticle) is equally concentrated. Carissimi’s Jephte is under 25 minutes and also ends with a chorus of weeping on the death of Jephte’s daughter. To these affecting narratives (separated by instrumental interludes by De Brossard), La Nuova Musica bring superbly straight tone, unerring tuning and plangent phrasing.”

Nicholas Kenyon, The Independant, 19 July 2014


“Bates, one of baroque music’s rising stars, presents three fine 17th-century sacred pieces. First there’s the delicious expressivity of Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s Le Reniement de Saint Pierre and Sacrificium Abrahae, then the climax is a dramatic reading of Giacomo Carissimi’s oratorio Historia di Jephte. The effect of Bates’s performance is immediate, his relish of the agonising clashing harmonies in the lamenting final chorus irresistible.”

Stephen Pettitt, The Sunday Times, 31st August 2014


“A feast for those who love French baroque music … Recorded sound beautifully captures the warm acoustics of the venues, and profuse program notes and complete texts add to this outstanding issue.”

Robert Benson – Classical CD Review, August 2014



“The recording itself has the quality of a live performance. Crucially, Bates brings to the fore the dramatic qualities of each oratio … Bates always keeps a sense of pace in the long lines of this music, gloriously in the finale of Charpentier’s La Reniement de Saint Pierre. The ensemble singing is unconstrained and nothing short of radiant, and the de Brossard instrumental pieces offer both balance and the instrumentalists of La Nuova Musica the chance to bring colour and vibrancy to the record.”

Tim Woodall, Early Music Today, September – November 2014


“The soft-edged clarity of this smoothly sonorous recording is a tasteful foil to the high levels of emotion, definitely and effectively conveyed by an excellent cast.”

Rebecca Tavener, Choir & Organ Magazine, September – October 2014


“A neat idea this … Sophie Junker is…strikingly powerful. This is a disc of much promise from a generation of British Baroque performing talent.”

Lindsay Kemp – Gramophone Awards Issue, September 2014


“beautifully performed … All three pieces…are a pleasure to hear, performed as they are by skilled and experienced members of this excellent ensemble … The line-up of singers here is impressive and gives all the colour and drama needed … Charpentier and Carissimi have established reputations to which this lovely issue simply adds lustre. Buy this, sit back and enjoy.”

Dave Billinge – Music Web International, 22nd October 2014


**** (performance)

***** (recording)

“Youthful voices and transparent instrumental textures capture both the intimacy and the immediacy of the music … felicitously played and expressively shaded by this fine team of players.”

Kate Bolton – BBC Music Magazine, November 2014

The Times March 2014

“If anyone can be relied on to make Baroque music sound newly hatched, it’s the aptly named ensemble La Nuova Musica. They dust out the tiniest corners and crannies of phrasing and embellish the music so that it sounds more dizzy with life than you’ve ever heard it.”

Hilary Finch of The Times reviews our recital with Tim Mead (countertenor) and Bojan Cicic (violin) in the London Handel Festival

L’Issipile at Wigmore Hall achieves critical acclaim

La Nuova Musica’s debut concert at Wigmore Hall, a ground-breaking performance of Conti L’Issipile (1732), received universal critical acclaim.

“From La Nuova Musica and David Bates [L’Issipile] got the best possible revival… That a long evening literally flew by was thanks both to these stunning performances and to the brilliance with which Bates marshalled his forces, letting each instrument sing out in high definition. No show-stopping aria, but much Handelian bewitchment; will they now stage it? Why not?”

***** Michael Church, The Independent

“A knock-out performance… Bates and La Nuova Musica go from strength to strength.”

**** Tim Ashley, The Guardian

“This outstanding and utterly absorbing performance by La Nuova Musica and a stellar set of soloists made for a thrilling musical evening… The fourteen instrumentalists, led from the harpsichord by founder and director David Bates, produced playing of fleetness, vivacity and charm. The Sinfonia epitomised the perfectly synchronised panache of the strings’ Italianate lines, and the striking contrasts of dynamics suggested the surprising twists and turns of the drama to follow… Concert performance this may have been, but the drama was transfixing. The three hours whizzed by.”

Claire Seymour, Opera Today

“Francesco Bartolomeo Conti’s L’Issipile really does need, not just “the four greatest singers in the world” as Caruso famously remarked about the requirements for Trovatore, but six of the greatest exponents of the baroque singing style – not to mention a first rate band under exacting yet sympathetic direction. We got all of that, so much so that the near-standing ovation came as no surprise.”

***** Melanie Eskenazi, MusicOMH


The Times December 2013

Passion, energy and enthusiasm go a long way with me. There was much more besides in this Spitalfields Music Winter Festival concert by the American countertenor Lawrence Zazzo and David Bates’s period-instrument group La Nuova Musica. The overwhelming impression, however, was of performers so clearly enjoying their repertoire — Handel and his older contemporaries Corelli, Ariosti and Bononcini — that only the congenitally churlish would resist being wafted along on their cloud of exuberance. ****

Richard Morrison The Times reviews The Royal Trio / Lawrence Zazzo at the Spitalfields Winter Festival

The Guardian December 2013

A match made in Handel heaven

[Larry] Zazzo and [David] Bates work uncommonly well together. Both are enthusiasts, conveying tangible glee in what they do… La Nuova Musica played with a sensuous immediacy that was utterly beguiling… Bates [was] imperious of gesture… A treat from start to finish.” *****

Tim Ashley The Guardian reviews The Royal Trio / Lawrence Zazzo at the Spitalfields Winter Festival

Classicalsource.com, March 2013

…rewarding and stimulating…the vocal virtuosity required was flawlessly realised… rarely can such moralising have been so enchanting!

Curtis Rogers reviews Handel Il Trionfo del Tempo at the London Handel Festival

Bachtrack.com, March 2013

…the hall erupted in deserved applause from a moved but joyful and most privileged audience.

David Fay reviews Bach St John Passion at St George’s, Bristol

The Times, January 2013

That sense of the composer’s adaptability was intensified by Bates and La Nuova Musica’s zesty approach, particularly in the Orchestral Suite No. 1 in C and the lovely C minor Concerto for violin and oboe. Rhythms had a French, balletic twist; the quality of the string sound was earthy and Italianate. As conductor-cum- harpsichordist, the flamboyant Bates cuts a Wodehousian figure, but there’s no artifice or pretence in the directness of expression that he is aiming for.

Neil Fisher reviews BACH UNWRAPPED at Kings Place.

venue.co.uk, November 2012

…among today’s new generation early music ensembles, few know how to bewitch as potently as David Bates’ La Nuova Musica. Their pre-Christmas Messiah at St George’s last year was as fresh as it was revelatory, and they set the bar high for this rematch. To judge by the cheers it was a bar cleared without breaking sweat…

Paul Riley reviews ACIS & GALATEA at St George’s, Bristol

Bachtrack.com, November 2012

…this was an utterly delightful performance of a gem of a piece…

David Fay reviews ACIS & GALATEA at St George’s, Bristol

The Independent, June 2012

Directing from the organ, with instrumental interpolations drawn from Sebastien de Brossard’s violin music (soloist Bojan Cicic),  David Bates favoured slow tempi and luxuriant textures.  Among the soloists Mark Chaundy’s fiery Jephthah and Simon Wall’s mellifluous Abraham were outstanding.  The overlapping dissonances of “In carmine doloris” were dizzying in the generous acoustic of ShoreditchTown Hall, underpinned by the baleful seam of cello, theorbos,  lirone, organ and harpsichord.

Anna Picard reviews SACRIFICES at the Spitalfields Festival

Evening Standard, June 2012

A tiny band of musicians, directed by David Bates, provided subtle orchestral colour of often heartbreaking poignancy while seven singers doubled as soloists and chorus. The small-scale forces lacked nothing in pathos, the acoustic of Shoreditch Town Hall resonant enough to fill out the sound without swamping it. On purely musical terms this was often exquisite…

Nick Kimberley reviews SACRIFICES at the Spitalfields Festival

venue.co.uk, December 2011

With the band living every moment as if lives depended on it (how often does your ear usually find itself drawn to the cellos in Messiah?), and most of the audience literally on the edge of their seats, not merely listening but taking part vicariously, the raucous standing ovation at the end was pretty much guaranteed.

Paul Riley reviews Handel Messiah at St George’s, Bristol

The Guardian, December 2011

With the energy level generally extremely high, and the band ripping into the accented rhythms in the bass’s Why do the nations…? and the tenor’s Thou shalt break them, small was not just beautiful but absolutely compelling.

Martin Kettle reviews Handel Messiah at the Spitalfields Winter Festival

The Times, December 2011

Thanks to the inspired direction of David Bates this was to be music-making of an undogmatic, long-pondered intelligence, generously yet undistractingly ornamented, and with the small band minutely sensitive to its interplay with the human voice.

Hilary Finch reviews Handel Messiah at the Spitalfields Winter Festival