Reviews & Press

What the papers say

BACCHUS AS FLUTIST
La Republique de Seine-et-Marne (Fontainebleau, France)
  The mastery of Peter Bacchus on the flute, a prince of chamber music, the astonishing flutist Peter Bacchus.
Madison Eagle-Florham Park Eagle (New Jersey U.S.A.)
  Flutist Peter Bacchus performed eloquently.
Star Ledger (Newark, New Jersey U.S.A.)
  One was also impressed by the flutist's versitility. Bacchus demonstrated wonderful proficiency with the transverse flute. The performance was very well done. Bacchus played with real skill and with moments of brilliance … his tone is quite beautiful and all his own. He certainly oes not sound like any oyther flutist, and in the days of Rampal clones, that's noteworthy. His phrasing, especially in the Prokofiev, was always songful, and he appeared to have an unusually keen instinct for rubato.
The Observer-Tribune (Morristown, New Jersey U.S.A.)
  tremendously talented…
The News Times (Danbury, Connecticut U.S.A.)
  Harpsichord, flute program 1st class. An evening of first class music ...
It was all conveyed with consummate skill.
New York Magazine
  As befits a birthday party, the music was on the light side, even if a Dionysian revel did not exactly materialize (despite the presence of a transverse-flute player with the promising name Peter Bacchus).... Not suprisingly, though, Johann Sebastian's own "Peasant Cantata" outclassed his relations honest efforts by a considerable margin. The eighteen musicians under Frederick Renz's direction played with just as much expertise, polish, and vibrancy as any of the British authentic-instrument ensembles that monopolize our attention these days.
J.C.C. – Revista Musical Catalana December ‘06
 

Flutist Peter Bacchus continues in his commendable work on behalf of contemporary music. Within it’s fall concert series, this upcoming December 14, Grup XXI offers a particularly significant concert with the presence in Barcelona for the first time of the pianist-composer Anthony Newman….


FLUTE FORCE
Musical America (U.S.A.)
 

Peter Bacchus' Quartet for Diverse Flutes proves entertaining and repeatedly listenable. Flute Force is an example of a largely unheralded but important phenomenon of the past half-century: the rebirth of the consort idea … Flute Force, celebrating it's tenth anniversary, is an extremely persuasive advocate for the flute quartet medium: four top-quality players in a perfectly balanced and expressive whole … the Sollberger and Bacchus pieces are well worth coming back to.

American Record Guide (U.S.A.)
  The most interesting works are the most recent three: Preston Trombly's Cantilena (1975), David Evan Jones's Tibiae (1983) and Peter Bacchus's Quartet for diverse Flutes (1985). David Jones and Peter Bacchus know the flute, and their use of extended techniques is both moderate and effective; the Flute Force brings it all off well; the liner notes call them the leading ensemble of its kind in the US.
Fanfare (U.S.A)
  Fortunately, assertive, adventurous programs such as this serve to make us aware that there is more to the flute than its intimate, gentle character. As demanding and unconventional as these scores may get, Flute Force is nevertheless up to the task: more importantly, with their compatible timbres, soothing ensemble blend, and musical intelligence, they convince us that these pieces communicate as music, and not technical exercices.

BACCHUS AS COMPOSER
On: 'Quartet for Diverse Flutes'
Musical America (U.S.A.)
  Peter Bacchus' Quartet for Diverse Flutes proves entertaining and repeatedly listenable.
Calgary Herald (Canada)
  It paled next to Peter Bacchus' fluent Quartet for Diverse Flutes (1985), a compelling work by a ten year member of the Force.
On: 'The Wind in Tall Trees'
Classical New Jersey Society Journal (U.S.A.)
  "[Bacchus] is the owner of a fine ear for orchestral color. The first movement, "Swept Away/Reverie",blew along like the wind toward an unknowable goal … His shimmering clusters in the strings and slides to new pitches captured the essence of tree limbs swaying, making the wind "visible". "Shifting Winds", the second movement, proved to be a driving and exciting dance. Meters changed and dynamic levels rose and fell effectively."

BACCHUS AS CONDUCTOR
El Pais
 

Especially acknowledged were the musical numbers. Avui.
The king of French vaudeville of the last century is converted into the suculent material of a well served and free and easy comedy, bathed with the agreable and refreshing musical numbers of François Raubert … a live orchestra is revealed finally behind the scenery, actors singing without amplification (at the risk, at times, of a loss of diction and voice, but in exchange for the deliciousness of a direct communication).

El Periodico
  The work of the musicians, directed by Peter John Bacchus, is to be commended.
La Vanguardia
  For the occasion, the process was completed with the music of François Raubert, who adjusted the familiar themes to each situation, creating an irony, and which, in my opinion gave support to the best moments of the show.
Catalunya Música Magazine
  "New catalonian Music and..." (announcement of the 2003-04 concert series Avuimúsica of the Associció Catalàna de Compositors)
"On the other hand, Grup XXi directed by Peter Bacchus returns with an substantial program which includes music of Amargòs, De Jong, Casablancas, Lara, and Takemitsu. In view of the level and solvency that Grup XXI has shown on previous occasions, we have high expectations for their appearance this year on the series (November 14 at the French institute). It is a group of high level that Bacchus has forged and put together with excellent results."

CONCERT REVIEW
Grup XXI
 

"In the comfortable concert hall of the French Institute we were able to applaud with great satisfaction Grup XXI, which is sun by Peter Bacchus and Angel Pereira. Luckily, it appears that they have found the way the to continue in their work. In truthful reality, the life of a chamber group is not easy these days in Spain... The Orquestra de Cambra del Teatre Lliure has recently disssappeared form the horizon, and previously to that the well launched group Barcelona 216 has effctively gone into hibernation. In light of these events, we would trully wish to be able to continue reviewing the future concerts of Grup XXI. Without entering into comparisions, it should be said that in their manner of working on new music we percieve a sincere drive to deeply explore the inner life of the new pieces they premiere and perform. There is a finely honed mental discipline and capacity for identifying and bringing to life the ideas of contemporary composers. There are no comfortable attitudes of minimum effort for resolving problems in the process of reading a new and difficult score. All of the group's members and it's director show a disposition and desire to bring to light the positive and communicative of each piece, and with an efficient technical level. They are familiar with the latest currents and esthetic trends and they transmit it all with great sensibility.

We were able to see this in the expressive subtlety with which they gave to the reading of Heptandre of Joaquím Homs, and in the taught still relevant version of the Chamber Symphony No. 1, Op. 9 by Arnold Schoenberg, seventy years after it's conception. We also found the same level of expressiveness and detail in the ironic Mareas de Todos Colores of De Jong, in the interesting and naive Perelision of Ada Gentile, as well as in the known and established scores, Sextet mixt (a notable example of dodecaphism of Brotons, and in Epigrames of Casablancas.

 

On: 'Magnificat, Petita Suite'
Albert Torrens Revista Musical Catalana February 07
 

A Pleasing Variety

If it is said that contemporary music all sounds the same to some, then the fourth and last concert of the Grup XXI second concert season showed that belief to be patently untrue. Good taste relies in part on variety, and the program performed at the Barcelona Municipal Conservatory…communicated itself with an eclecticism of styles that brought out the contrasts, and which favored a clear compression of the various composers: the American Tobias Picker, the Argentinean Jorge Liderman, our very own Agustí Charles, and the renowned pianist Anthony Newman, who premiered his own chamber concerto at the very end of the concert.

The instrumentation of Grup XXI for this concert was the so called “Pierrot Ensemble + Percussion” instruments (flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano and percussion), and the immaculately prepared program notes for the concert explain that this formation represents the ensemble for which Arnold Schoenberg wrote his famous Pierrot Luniare (however, without percussion, hence the title “…+ Percussion”). Serving as guest conductor, Mark Gibson led the group with naturalness and precision, without doubt, consequence of a complete command of the scores. He conducted the whole program with the exception of the Newman, which the composer directed himself from the piano.

This piece, in four movements, one of which the second movement is in memory of the victims of 9/11, is an offering which does not hide it’s multiple influences – baroque, romantic and contemporary – and that, after passing through various contrasting planes, finished in an explosion of optimism. It was a finale received warmly by the audience, camping off a varied and gratifying concert.

RRMC - Revista Musical Catalana November 07
 

New Season of the Grup XXI

A total of four concerts in which 20 works will be performed, with 3 world premiers, and 5 Spanish premiers, comprises the season this fall of Grup XXI, lead by Peter Bacchus.

Once again, this initiative acts unquestionably in the area of contemporary music. That is, contemporary music understood in an open and inclusive fashion, and not limited radically to one style or another. The group accomplishes this with a notable effort given the limited resources available to them, and with a remarkable creative spirit.

Joseph Barcons - Revista Musical Catalana January 08
 

Unusual “Couplings”

(this title is a play on words in Catalonian of the word cobla, meaning strophe or verse, and the same word for the traditional band)

It is said that when Stravinsky came to Barcelona in the 1920`s, he was fascinated with the sound of the cobla. It seems that, captivated by the sounds that this group offers, he actually wrote a piece for cobla. He sent the piece to Barcelona from Paris and the piece was returned to him in the mail, with corrections to his orchestration of the piece, just as he had requested. It was apparently lost in the mail.

How might have that piece sounded? Without doubt, it would have been in a tonal language much more advanced than that of the usual, traditional composers who were writing then for this indigenous band. An exception to this would have been the Sardana II of 1929 by Robert Gerhard.

And it was this piece by Gerhard, with a consistent and fantastic bitonality, which closed the concert that Grup XXI offered this last November 21st in their fall concert season. Before hearing the Gerhard, we were able to appreciate a healthy dose of works which explore the possibilities of these cobla instruments in different chamber combinations along side the established classical instruments.

The first half of the concert presented pieces that were commissioned by the organization Càtedra de Música Emili Pujol for the creation of new works precisely for a mixed group of cobla instruments with classical instruments. These three pieces presented quite a diversity of styles. Kaos by Mariona Vila offered a certain comic quality with an omnipresent chromatic motive; la Petita Suite for 12 instruments by Peter Bacchus recreated in a delightful manner the language of the Stravinsky Suites 1 and 2 for orchestra. A l’esquena d’un voltor… by Feliu Gasull, with the composer as narrator, created a symphonic texture to accompany the texts from a varied collection of poems.

In the second part of the concert were Aquarel.la that Xavier Boliart composed to show off the combination of piano and tenora (tenor shawm), and the sardana of Gerhard.

In between these two works was the world premiere of In Process… by the young Catalonian composer Octavi Rumbau, who explored to dramatic effect the highest and lowest registers of the tenora in a texture of subtle timbres and a rhythmic playfulness, all to good effect.

It was evident in this concert that when these pieces are performed by first class performers, as was the case here, this little exploited repertory shows great promise for the future of our traditional instruments.