Press


Ben Palmer • conductor (Andy Staples Photography)
Das Orchester durchschritt die ekstatischen Höhepunkte mit leuchtkräftigen Klangfarben, die eine rauschhafte Intensität entfalteten. Palmer ließ die Musiker dynamisch aus dem Vollen schöpfen, behielt aber die Balance des Gesamtklanges im Auge und gestaltete die Umschwünge der Musik mit seismografischem Feingefühl. Feuriger Sturmlauf wechselte mit lasziver Verführung und leichtfüßigem Liebestanz. ... Klare Konturen und markante Kontraste sorgten für gut durchhörbaren Klang. Opulenz ging einher mit größtmöglicher Prägnanz. Befeuert wurde die Aufführung durch die zwingenden Tempi, die Palmer anschlug. Mit geschickten Temposteigerungen und wirkungsvoll gesetzten Kulminationspunkten entfaltete seine Interpretation furiose Vitalität.
— Silvia Adler, Darmstädter Echo
Under the expertly guided baton of conductor Ben Palmer, the Czech National Symphony Orchestra absolutely nailed it. ... Their precision in musical timing, extraordinarily faithful orchestral recreation, and synchronicity to image was absolutely phenomenal.
— Jamie Caddick, 365 Bristol ★★★★★
Auch in schwelgerischen Passagen wie dem Adagio mit seinem weitgespannten Klarinettensolo bleibt Palmer angenehm unsentimental. Und die forsche, ein wenig eckig wirkende Anlage des Finalsatzes war von spannungsvollen Gegensätzen durchzogen. Dabei ist es hier besonders schwierig, das musikalische Geschehen in den Griff zu bekommen. Aber bei Palmer wirkt das ganz mühelos: In den Riesenbeifall für diesen Dirigenten stimmte auch das Orchester ein, das doch selbst hatte glänzen können.
— Johannes Breckner, Allgemeine Zeitung
Wenn das kein schöner Einstand ist: Der Dirigent Ben Palmer bekam den Beifall nach seinem ersten Konzert als Chefdirigent der Deutschen Philharmonie Merck gleich von zwei Seiten. Im langen Schiff der Basilika von Kloster Eberbach feierte ihn das Publikum, und auf dem Podium lieferten die Musiker ein getrampeltes Nachspiel zu ihrer großen Leistung. Überhaupt war das Orchester an diesem Abend auffallend gut gelaunt und reagierte wach auf Palmers präzise, nicht übertrieben ausladende Zeichen. ... Überhaupt war erstaunlich, welch feine Differenzierung trotz des langen Nachhalls und des großen Streicherapparats gelang, wie fein die Schattierungen der kurzen Moll-Wendung im Seitenthema des Kopfsatzes ausfielen. Palmer schickt Wellen dynamischer Bewegung durchs Orchester, setzt im Mittelsatz den schönen Holzbläser-Soli ein markantes Streicher-Unisono gegenüber. Aber er drängt er die Effekte nicht in den Vordergrund, will nicht die eigene Originalität beweisen, sondern die des Komponisten.
— Johannes Breckner, Darmstädter Echo
...the result was exhilarating. Ben Palmer conducted [Beethoven Violin Concerto] with swift tempi, sharp accents and crisp rhythms - the world of the fifth symphony was never far away.
— Norman Stinchcombe, Birmingham Post
...this disc is a particularly welcome unveiling of four rapturous sacred works, thanks to a happy marriage of scholarship and performance. ... Conductor Ben Palmer draws alert responses from The Syred Consort, highlighting to dramatic effect moments of vivid word painting, expressive chromaticisms and dissonance. ...the Orchestra of St Paul’s produces a lush orchestral sound, aptly suggesting the extravagance of Venetian sacred music.
— Kate Bolton-Porciatti, BBC Music Magazine (Lotti CD) ★★★★
Each of these offerings suggests a director in Ben Palmer who has a firm grip on his material: rhythms are propelled with purpose and vitality, and there’s an unyielding quest to uncover the imagery and sensibility of Lotti’s almost cinematic perspectives with graphic immediacy. ... The strength of these performances lies largely in an organic sense of what each work can effectively impart, again strongly enabled by Palmer’s unequivocal vision. ...Ben Palmer has irrevocably identified a fine craftsman who is rather more than a ‘one piece wonder’...
— Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, Gramophone Magazine (Lotti CD)
The Dixit opens with the same monumental wall of sound that Monteverdi uses in his Vespers, setting the majestic tone for the disc. I, for one, have certainly been won over - the superb musicianship on display shows Lotti in the best possible light...
— David Smith, Presto Classical (Lotti CD)
The middle movement, marked piacevole, is the relevation, shimmering with a new hushed beauty - equally a testament to the lustre frequently achieved by the 16 musicians in Ben Palmer’s Orchestra of St Paul’s, with the violin sections placed antiphonally to the conductor’s left and right. ...the forces may have become enlarged, but there is never any distortion of intent; indeed, the bipolar mix of searing anguish, quiet radiance and Irish reel hits home as never before.
— Geoff Brown, BBC Music Magazine (Elgar, Arnold, Simpson CD) ★★★★
This is fiendishly difficult music for a quartet, yet alone a sixteen-strong string ensemble. But the Orchestra of St Paul’s advocate it with an edge of the seat intensity and technical brilliance that contrasts sharply with the ‘health and safety’ approach favoured by today’s ‘A list’ orchestras. ...the CD is enhanced by erudite sleeve notes from Ben Palmer; when did you last find Dudamel, Gergiev or Rattle taking the time to share their musical passions in a sleeve note? Audience engagement is not about superstar conductors, celebrity interviews over lunch at braggable restaurants, cutting through classical websites, or click bait blogs - it is is about the kind of music making found on this new CD.
— Bob Shingleton, On An Overgrown Path (Elgar, Arnold, Simpson CD)
...excellently performed by the Orchestra of St Paul’s under Ben Palmer. Famous for avoiding vibrato, Palmer’s orchestra shone a clear light on these curious pieces, marked by piercing winds and snake-charming solos, with ebullience arriving in the nick of time. This was a pleasure to hear.
— Geoff Brown, The Times
...complemented by the deft playing of the Orchestra of St Paul’s under the meticulous Ben Palmer.
— Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post
Especial praise is due to Ben Palmer and the Orchestra of St Paul’s who had to get to grips with so many new compositions for one concert; they deserve top marks for concentration, commitment and courage. However they also imparted such sparkle to the music that the audience could not help being impressed by their enthusiasm and musicianship.
— Roger Jones, Seen and Heard International
...the first complete recording of the incidental music to Binyon’s play King Arthur, scraps of bittersweet remembrance from the master’s table. ...performances under conductors John Wilson and Ben Palmer are persuasive.
— Richard Fairman, Financial Times (Elgar CD)
The performance is thoroughly idiomatic - the lightness of the scoring is very evocative. Palmer has a very good feel for the score and the recording, while close, captures the various lines well.
— Nick Barnard, MusicWeb International (Elgar CD)