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Musical World

Andrew Manze

  • Conductor
  • Violinist


Andrew Manze press reviews

Seattle Symphony Orchestra / Tallis, Corelli, Vaughan Williams, Elgar
“Who would have expected a program built around 20th-century English music for strings to rouse a Seattle audience to a standing ovation? There were several reasons for the vociferous cheers that greeted Andrew Manze's debut conducting the Seattle Symphony, and they were all good ones.

… Manze introduced the various works with a wit that had the audience eating out of his hand before he even started to conduct. And then, quite aside from the quality of the music itself, there is Manze's own musical gift to consider. Formerly known mainly as a violinist with a specialty in period-instrument performance, he now seems likely to become a conductor of high distinction. He has hands, as orchestra players say. He has charisma, and he has patience. Trusting the music and the audience, he never rushes sustained passages for fear that the former may lose its hold on the latter. …

Especially rewarding was the performance of the Tallis Fantasia. … Keeping the melodic line smooth, he evoked in this wonderful music the inward ecstasy that is peculiarly and authentically English.

No wonder the audience cheered.”
Seattle Times, May 2010

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra / Brahms & Schumann
“After what transpired in the City Hall yesterday afternoon, there is one thing we can say about Andrew Manze, the BBC SSO’s new associate guest conductor, who takes up his post later this year: with Manze around musical life is not going to be dull.

The man is spring-loaded. He doesn’t conduct conventionally (whatever that might be). It’s a whole-body exercise, from his arms to his hips and beyond. He is so animated that at one point, quite irreverently, the thought flashed through my brain: I hope his boots are nailed to the podium or he might take off and bang his head on the roof.

The man is a total energiser. He launched the SSO into the introduction of Brahms’s First Symphony with such force and velocity that I inadvertently yelped and sat bolt upright, giving the chap next to me a bit of a start (sorry, sir).

There were rough edges to the ensemble, but it was electrifying, edge of the seat stuff. That said, attack is not Manze’s only mode. He gave the music of the slow movement, pacy though it was, acres of space, outstandingly in the glorious duet passages between leader Peter Thomas and first horn David Flack.

And, as exemplified in the elegance of third movement, he does grace and poise too. But there’s something raw and vital about Manze’s energy, and it was back in the blazing, closing pages of the finale.”
The Herald, March 2010

Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin / Bach & Mendelssohn
“[Andrew Manze] proved once again beyond any doubt that he has thoroughly penetrated the language of the Baroque. It was astonishing to hear how he shaped the architecture of Bach’s suite for orchestra no.3; and how he dissected the polyphony without removing even the tiniest breath of life. And the DSO followed his interpretation with the greatest of rigour, not once losing their composure, even in the festive Bourrée movement. After the interval, the academic charm of the final counterpoint from “The art of fugue” did not work against the pleasure of the music-making, but rather complemented it. The famous BACH theme was performed as a free-spirited study; a theory of harmony and counterpoint in the liveliest of forms.”
Der Tagesspiegel, April 2009

Scottish Chamber Orchestra / Mendelssohn, Mozart & Schubert
“Performers become conductors with mixed results. Andrew Manze, who first came to prominence as a violinist specialising in early music, is one who has made the transition quite brilliantly. In this opening concert of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra's Mendelssohn 200 series, his dynamic authority over the players elicited playing of the very highest distinction.”
The Scotsman, January 2009

“The conducting career of violinist Andrew Manze is rocketing, and in every bar of each piece he directed on Friday with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra you could see and hear why. Everything he touches emerges fresh and newly minted; everything has a new perspective; and, with the SCO at its most responsive, homogeneous in ensemble, and pristine in its balance and articulation, the level of sophistication that characterised a marvellous concert was truly a thing of wonder.”
The Herald, January 2009

Scottish Chamber Orchestra / Beethoven
“The spotlight was back on Manze for Beethoven's Seventh Symphony. And once again he had something unique to say. Forget the broad outline, which was intelligent and proportionally paced. But within the detail, such nuggets as the vibrato-less string opening of the second movement made you sit up and listen intently. Manze is one conductor worth watching.”
The Scotsman, January 2008

Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra / Beethoven Symphony No.3 ‘Eroica’ (Harmonia Mundi)
"Andrew Manze has had the ingenious idea of coupling the Eroica with the set of contredanses in which the theme of the symphony’s finale first appeared, and with the finale of Beethoven’s ballet score The Creatures of Prometheus, the melody’s second appearance. What makes the disc exceptional, however, is the superb clarity and incisiveness of the performances. The splendid Swedish orchestra plays the Eroica as if discovering and revelling in its beauty and audacity for the first time. Manze sets a spanking tempo for the opening movement, but always gives the music room to breathe, and the rest is equally inspiring."
Sunday Times, June 2008

"A robust Beethoven 'Eroica' that motors relentlessly onwards, powered by the intellectual might of British conductor Andrew Manze. The opening movement, with its richness of harmonic ambiguity, is persuasively argued as Manze finds common cause between Beethoven's vivid harmonic turnarounds and the hard-hitting transparency of his orchestration. The second movement funeral march is imposing and lingers in the imagination, while the final two movements are filled with deeply authentic, coolly controlled mania. The Twelve Contretänze contain material that Beethoven re-worked into his Creatures of Prometheus Ballet, which in turn found its way into the 'Eroica'. Skeletons from Beethoven's cupboard - Manze's got the key."
Classic FM Magazine, May 2008

“Manze takes a surprisingly Romantic view of the Eroica, with a lingering account of its funeral march second movement that allows the trumpets to ring out to overwhelming effect in the C major blaze of sound immediately preceding the first reprise of the initial funeral march theme. The remainder of the Symphony is no less impressive, with accomplished playing from the Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra. This is an Eroica to set alongside recent recommendations from Paavo Järvi and the Bremen Kammerphilharmonie (RCA), and Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra. Manze’s disc shouldn’t be missed.”
BBC Music Magazine, April 2008

"Andrew Manze possesses a lightness of touch in his conducting that never loses contact with the depth of a musical work, even one so enigmatic and potentially hazardous as Beethoven's Eroica Symphony . The mud-free opening of this fresh new version of the symphony with the Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra exhibits that very quality, its exuberant energy establishing a momentum that seems natural and organic, without losing the essential profundity of the work. The funeral march is solemn, but with an inbuilt optimism; the scherzo is unstoppably effervescent; the finale has a petulant quality that says something about the defiant Beethoven that is way above the mundane. Manze rounds off this exceptional disc with the 12 Contretänze and the finalé from The Creatures of Prometheus."
The Scotsman, April 2008

“Radical rubato, violent coups d’archets, beautiful woodwind detailing, and a strikingly slow ‘Marche funèbre’ contribute to a sense of freshness and dyanism, while the ’12 Contretänze’ and the finale of ‘Die Geschöpfe des Prometheus’ illustrate how one modest melody ignited a music revolution.”
The Independent, March 2008

“It seems almost an anomaly to suggest that a new recording of the Eroica might be fresh, perceptive, distinctive and exciting. Yet the handsomely packaged release from Harmonia Mundi of the Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra under the direction of British violinist-conductor Andrew Manze is all these things... This Eroica may confidently take its place with some of the finest available – those of Weingarter, Furtwängler and Abbado, for example – and bears a comparison with other historically informed readings, such as those of Harnoncourt and Gardiner. Very highly recommended.”
International Record Review, March 2008

Scottish Chamber Orchestra / Mozart's Requiem
"[Manze] lovingly shaped the individual movements into a dramatically satisfying whole... it was the sensitivity to detail - the sudden celestial quiet of the Voca Me after the opening fury of the Confutatis, the increasing magnitude of each successive declamation of Sanctus - that made the performance stand out."
The Guardian, May 2006