“The choir were on stunning form throughout, and constantly impressed with the sense of control and power. Ora has now developed a very clear sense of identity, and Suzi Digby gets a powerfully focused performance from her singers. Ora’s commissioning project remains a striking example of confidence in the contemporary composers..” Planet Hugill, 2nd February 2017 **** 4 Stars
“a musical comet … you’ll go a long way to hear singing this good. Truly, this is British choral music’s new golden age.”
Claudia Pritchard – Independent on Sunday, 14th February 2016 ***** 5 Stars
“…it was a real delight to hear this performance, the second of two launching Suzi Digby’s new vocal ensemble…This was an unfailingly elegant performance, with all sharp edges and breaths airbrushed out. But what was most striking was the singers’ sheer vocal power…”
Hannah Nepil – Financial Times, 11th February 2016 **** 4 Stars
“Suzi Digby drew from them a remarkably strong, focussed sound notable for its flexibility, vibrant yet well blended with a lovely sense of line.”
Robert Hugill – Planet Hugill, 10th February 2016 **** 4 Stars
“…the end result was rather special. As was the quality of performance: with the choir occasionally split and repositioned around the church for spatial effects, the aural potential of the experience was maximised. Digby drew finely controlled yet rhythmically fluid performances from her expert singers throughout.”
George Hall – The Guardian, 10th February 2016
Andrew McGregor - BBC Radio 3 Record Review, 13th February 2016
“Now on Classic FM, sit back and marvel at this glorious piece by William Byrd, performed here by the new vocal ensemble; this is ORA. From a CD called ‘Upheld by Stillness’ which was released a couple of days ago, the new kids on the block they are, they’re called ORA and their director is Suzi Digby. We heard them perform Byrd’s Mass for Five Voices Sanctus and the Benedictus from it: rather glorious if you ask me."
Aled Jones – Classic FM, Sunday 14th February
Sara Mohr-Pietsch – BBC Radio 3 The Choir, 31st January 2016
UPHELD BY STILLNESS
Nicholas Kenyon - Guardian, 17th April 2016
"This is a superb and exciting release. I expect to spend a lot of time exploring its mysteries of connection, reflection, and musical commentary and look forward to the continuation of the series. If you are at all interested in choral music or in Byrd's music, this is something you ought to own."
Chakwin - American Record Guide (USA), May 2016
Alexandra Coghlan - Gramophone, February 2016
"The performance of the mass itself is exceptionally strong, capturing its verbal concision and intensity, as if the recusant Catholics who performed it knew they might have very little time and had to make each word count...A highly original choral recording, strongly recommended."
James Manheim - AllMusic (USA), April 2016
REFUGE FROM THE FLAMES
“ORA, conducted by Suzi Digby, has matched the celebrated Miserere by Allegri, with a new setting of the same text, radiant but anguished, by James MacMillan. Byrd’s heaven-sent Infelix Ego sits alongside a dense, soaring new version by Eriks Esenvalds. Performances by ORA, 18 singers strong are first rate"
Richard Fairman – Financial Times, October 2016 **** 4 Stars
“Yet again, this group shows its considerable skill not only in expressive interpretation but in clarity of lines, subtletly of expression, and an ability to maintain an introspective atmosphere throughout.”
Shirley Ratcliffe, Choir and Organ, January 2017 ***** 5 Stars
“The singing, once again unaccompanied throughout, is as breathtaking as 'Upheld By Stillness' and once again we make the recommendation that listeners who appreciate
excellence in choral singing will want to add this to their collection. The closing setting of the Miserere is by the Scottish composer Sir James MacMillan and this on its own makes the disc indispensable. He catches the tone of the earlier pieces and builds on it as only he can with the singing reaching even greater heights. More please!”
Steven Whitehead – Cross Rhythms, October 2016
“This second disc by high-class chamber-choir newcomers Ora draws together a varied but effortlessly coherent programme...Everything here is heard to best advantage, thanks to the choir’s clean, supple singing under Suzi Digby’s direction.”
Erica Jeal – The Guardian, October 2016 **** 4 Stars
“Suzi Digby y signe une belle réussite, agençant avec soin les plans sonores et soutenant la tension sans jamais aucune crispation... Cette alliance de la Renaissance et du récent nous invite à suivre avec intérêt l'aventure d'ORA.”
Benoît Fauchet - Diapason, Décembre 2016 **** 4 Diapasons
“Das Ensemble ORA, bestehend aus sechs Sopranen, vier Altos (drei davon männlich), vier Tenören und vier Bässen, zeichnet sich durch eine stupende technische Perfektion und im Vergleich zu den besten anderen britischen Formationen durch einen individuelleren, farbigeren Klang und eine höchst emotionale Interpretation aus. Zur Kunst kommt das Spontane, zu den Worten ein vor Intensität vibrierender Gesang. Das Hörerlebnis besticht neben meditativer Ruhe mittels Fluten eines unendlichen Vokalstroms, dessen ständig changierende Farbtextur genau so aufwühlt wie das Auf- und Abschwellen der Wasser, die mit dem Kiel der Partitur durchmessen wird. Für Liebhaber hochwertiger Chormusik ist dieses auch hochintelligent programmierte Album unverzichtbar.”
Dr. Ingobert Waltenberger- Online Merker, Januar 2017
MANY ARE THE WONDERS
"The quality of the singing is first rate throughout, impeccably blended and beautifully tuned, giving a rich sense of unity to the whole endeavour... Suzi Digby is blazing a trail with ORA, building a bridge between older, well established music and contemporary composers, and she is doing it with exceptional intelligence. Many are the wonders, indeed."
Simon Thompson, MusicWeb International, June 2017
“If the gospel-influenced title-track (set by Ken Burton and featuring a stratospheric solo tenor as a sort of celebrant) is the most immediately arresting, it's the spacious sound-worlds of Richard Allain and Frank Ferko which make the most enduring impact.”
Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, June 2017
"On this disc, short pieces by Thomas Tallis, leading composer of the English Reformation, are threaded through with seven new commissions, ranging from Steven Stucky’s chattering O sacrum convivium to the rolling waves of sound in Richard Allain’s ambitious Videte miraculum. All are brought vividly to life by ORA under Suzi Digby."
Richard Fairman – Financial Times, June 2017 **** 4 Stars
"Seamlessly blended through the voices, a halo of resonance surrounding a solid vocal core, keeping things from getting too fey and floaty."
Alexandra Coghlan, Gramophone, August 2017
"Dank des stupenden Niveaus des aus acht Sopranstimmen, vier Altos, ebenso vielen Tenören und Bässen bestehenden, ganz der englischen Chortradition verpflichteten Ensembles ORA scheinen die kontrapunktischen Geflechte von innen her zu leuchten. Mit vibratoarmen Stimmen gelingen strukturell klar durchhörbare vokale Artefakte, den farbigen Glasfenstern großer Kathedralen gleich...Die klangtechnisch erstklassig in großer räumlicher Tiefenstaffelung realisierte Einspielung wird auch jene erfreuen, die dachten, schon alles über britische Renaissancemusik zu wissen."
Dr. Ingobert Waltenberger- Online Merker
"ORA’s singing of Tallis is almost the opposite of what you might call English Cathedral chaste. The approach is assertive, the relish of moments of dissonance unmistakable. The new works... pursue their goals with the commitment of food-industry researchers, seeking out the musical equivalents of addictive sensory mouth feel and bliss points."
Michael Dervan - The Irish Times, July 2017 **** 4 Stars
“The British choir ORA and its director Suzi Digby have earned both positive critical reception and commercial success with albums combining Renaissance works with new commissions. This makes sense due to the unbroken quality of the English choral tradition, but ORA delves more deeply into the phenomenon with new works by composers who have specifically addressed the influence of Renaissance composers and works… If you think you've heard every possibility in recording the choral music of the English Renaissance, get to know ORA through this release.”
James Manheim- AllMusic, July 2017 **** 4.5 Stars
"Wat dit koor laat horen, klinkt voortreffelijk dankzij een soepele, heldere, doe gearticuleerde en expressieve manier van zingen. De stemmen mengen ideaal en klinken vol leven en de Gosel Oak locatie levert de puike akoestische entourage. Het gaat om drie heel bijzondere uitgaven die ook buiten het Verenigd Koninkrijk belangstelling waard zijn."
Musicalifeiten- Jan de Kruijff