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