Press on the double CD "Träume & Visionen" (with Sebastian Mirow, narrator)
"(...)The charm of this production lies in the dense alternation of texts and music. And the most surprising thing about it are those pieces of music that actually come from a completely different era and yet sound as if they were composed for viola da gamba ensemble. Text and music are particularly densely interwoven in Alexander von Zemlinsky's piece "At Midnight" and Julius Rodenberg's poem of the same name.(...)
This compilation was released by the Christophorus label. Of course, the best time to listen to it is at night and let the music and the interwoven lyrics take effect on you.(...)"
Bettina Winkler, SWR2 Neue CDs (broadcast of 17 September 2023)
"(...) The boundaries become blurred, as is inevitable in twilight and night, and this applies not least to the boundaries of genres or eras. Speaker Sebastian Mirow chooses a linguistically melodious diction that always retains something searching, mysteriously mystical. The viola da gamba consort Les Escapades moves through music history from Purcell to the present, but manages to weave a common thread into the repertoire - whether written directly for viola da gamba or arranged(...)"
Sven Kerkhoff, in the magazine "Musik an sich" (8/2023)
Press on the double CD "Kommt ihr Stunden, macht mich frei" (Franz Vitzthum, Les Escapades, Capricornus Ensemble Basel)
"To celebrate Franz Vitzthum's birthday, Christophorus presents two albums from 2011 and 2008 in a double pack. A more beautiful gift could not be given to the exquisite countertenor: The two collections of sacred baroque songs are true gems from the label's back catalogue, both in terms of the largely lesser-known repertoire and the magnificent interpretative realisation (...)
In the second recital of the double album, "Ich will in Frieden fahren", the viol ensemble "Les Escapades" is Vitzthum's partner. (...)wonderful tonal synergies emerge here, for example in Johann Rudolph Ahle's "Jesu dulcis memoria", in which the viols, together with the continuo layer excellently improvised by Wiebke Weidanz on the chest organ, simultaneously envelop and carry the moving jubilation of the singing voice: the baroque principle of the joint concerting of voice and instruments made "tangible", so to speak. What incredibly beautiful music!"
(Michael Wersin, Rondo Magazine, 25.2.2023)
You can read the full article here
"Dreams and Visions", concert on 10 October 2021 at Stephanienbad Karlsruhe
"...A programme of literary texts and nocturnal pieces - this is, however, familiar mainly from vocal music. But the fact that a baroque viol consort dedicates itself to these themes, even with arrangements by Claude Debussy or Gabriel Fauré - that is relatively unusual and arouses curiosity. A 'journey through a wondrous night' was promised by the four viola da gamba players ... and together with ... actor Sebastian Mirow they fulfilled this promise in a magnificent way. ... The soft moonlight is literally palpable in the flowing voices of the string instruments... Well thought out... texts and ... music are related to each other here..."
Christine Gehringer, Pamina Magazine, 15.10.2021
Press on the CD "Ich will den Herrn praben allezeit" Spiritual Concerts by Georg Christoph Strattner
"...exceedingly gratifying recording with a blissful listening feast."
Sabine Weber, klassikfavori.de, 20.3.2021
"Here, local musical history combines with compelling interpretive artistry to fill a truly filler repertoire gap."
Bettina Winkler, SWR2 Treffpunkt Klassik, 9. 5. 2021
Georg Christoph Strattner, concert on 27 September 2020 in the Stadtkirche Durlach
"expressive, human and direct" (...)
"It is simply gripping, speaking pictures that the musicians create here: the sopranos Monika Mauch and especially Miriam Feuersinger, who has a particularly extensive role, Alexander Schneider (alto), Daniel Schreiber (tenor), and Markus Flaig (bass), plus the two violinists Cosimo Stawiarski and Christoph Riedo, Simon Linné (lute) and Evelyn Laib (organ), and finally the viol consort "Les Escapades" with Sabine Kreutzberger, Adina Scheyhing, Franziska Finckh and Barbara Pfeifer.
One senses how much the music must have become second nature to the artists. There are expressive colours for every mood: for humility ("I stand by my life"), for example, a soft, bell-like sound, the "chosen of God" appear angelic, while judgment is sung about seriously and penetratingly. In the end, however, the realisation remains: God is the "source of all love", and the "joyful festival" mentioned at the beginning ends with magnificent, fiery figures. There is hardly a more beautiful way to express the joy of faith."
Christine Gehringer, Pamina Magazine, 30.9.2020
Press on the CD "Habe deine Lust an dem Herren" Rosenmüller et.al.
"Concertante baroque church music - a cosmos without borders: This recital contains no less than six world premiere recordings. The ensemble "Les Escapades" with violins, violas and continuo inspires with a bright, overtone-rich string sound, in which Miriam Feuersinger's clear, pleasantly rounded soprano voice blends seamlessly without ever drowning: She is always in a lively dialogue with the instruments (...)
The programme is colourful, but by no means arbitrary: Around the music of Johann Rosenmüller, who is represented with three pieces, are grouped vocal and instrumental gems of other masters (...) Christoph Strattner is one of the discoveries of this CD with his extended psalm concerto "Herr, wie lange willst du mein so gar vergessen" (Lord, how long will you forget me so completely), as is the presumed Tunder pupil Christian Flor, who belongs to the circle of the North German organ school, with his lamento-like "Es ist genug" (It is enough), interspersed with highly expressive apocopes, which puts the listener in a state of pensive absorption at the end of the programme."
(Michael Wersin, Rondo Magazine, 7.7.2018)
You can read the full article here
"Johann Rosenmüller, who lived from 1619 to 1684, is a discovery! In the very informative booklet one reads that he was able to harmoniously blend Italian sensuality with 'Teutscher gravitas'. And this can be heard at its best in the interpretation by soprano Miriam Feuersinger and the baroque ensemble 'Les Escapades' with violins, viols, theorbo and organ. All in all, a cross-section of 17th century works with half a dozen world premiere recordings has succeeded, which also brings lesser known composers and their sacred concertos to the fore (...) The exemplarily illuminated spectrum of affects ranges from 'I rejoice in the Lord' to the question of Psalm 13 ' How long wilt thou hide thy face?'' The music-making is as forceful as it is natural. That the music is meant to be as operatic-expressive as it is devotional-proclaiming is conveyed in each of the works."
(Dr. Meinrad Walter: "Kirchenmusikalische Mitteilungen des Erzbistums Freiburg" November 2018)
Press about the CD "Flores españolas
"... those who love Spanish music will get their money's worth here, also because a different light is shed on the repertoire for keyboard instruments. Alongside music for viol consort, guitar pieces by Gaspar Sanz and Santiago de Murcia are heard. They provide a good variety in an intelligently composed programme. (...) a very entertaining CD."
Press commentaries on the CD "Dass sich wunder alle Welt" ("That all the world will wonder")
"Préparons Noël avec une couronne de chants de l'Avent en latin et allemand, majoritairement des XVIe et XVIIe siècles. Le consort de violes
Les Escapades les entoure d'un halo de mystère entretenu par la patine des ans. D'une strophe à l'autre, on se plaît à entendre ce qu'un Scheidt, un Vulpius
ont su faire des mêmes mots reflétant ce temps liturgique
de l'attente recueillie. Ces déclinaisons pourraient être rébarbatives si un soprano stylé et un ténor très clair ne leur donnaient chair et caractère.
Un sommet: l'enlacement des deux voix dessiné par Heinrich Isaac dans son Ave Maria".
(4 tuning forks) Benoit Fauchet in the professional journal "Diapason", 12/2015
"For this delightfully refreshing selection, the viol consort Les Escapades and their guests have raided the rich treasury of German music for Advent from the late 15th to the early 18th centuries... The singing from soprano Miriam Feuersinger and tenor Daniel Schreiber is beautifully lyrical, and both singers always sound as if they have something urgent to convey to the listener. The viol consort, occasionally supported by guest organist Evelyn Laib, plays impeccably both on its own and as a beautifully effective and sympathetic accompaniment to the singing..."
(5 stars out of 5) D. James Ross in "Early Music Review", November 2015
You can read the full article here
Press commentaries on the CD "Fabulous London
"... Played by viols, these polyphonically set gems convey a compelling calm and an unsurpassable sense of well-being - especially when the music-making is as perfect in every respect as it is by the four ladies of the ensemble 'Les Escapades'..."
(Michael Wersin, Rondo Magazine, 6.7.2013)
You can read the full article here
Press reviews of the CD "Les Escapades du Roi
"...At the centre of the recording is Charpentier's Concert pour quatre parties de violes, a sequence of stylised dance movements, the essence of French, so to speak. Here the four gamba players omit the harpsichord, resulting in an almost pale, cinder-pure timbre. That is the special art of this viol consort, ...namely to convey moods and musical characters through timbres..." (Richard Lorber in "Fono Forum", March 2011, 4 stars for music and sound were awarded to the CD "Les Escapades du Roi")
Press commentaries on the CD "Ich will in Friede fahren" (I want to ride in peace)
"...Vitzthum has an even, flexible voice with more than a hint of Alfred Deller at times, and it is well suited to this repertory. ... Les Escapades generally provide sensitive accompaniments to the vocal works and are full of life and colour in the instrumental pieces..."
(Eric Cross, Oxford Journals: Early Music, November 2010)
"With a pleasant timbre and flawless intonation, Franz Vizthum, a former Regensburg cathedral sparrow, student of Kai Wessels and 1997 winner of the first prize in the national competition "Jugend musiziert", delights. The viola da gamba ensemble Les Escapades, augmented by a few guests, harmonises perfectly with the vocal soloist and also knows how to please in the instrumental movements through stylistically confident and affectionate music-making." (Klassik-heute 6.4.2009)
"The young alto Franz Vitzthum, born in 1973, presents himself on the CD "Ich will in Friede fahren" with a selection of sacred works from the 17th century. He gives the listener some very beautiful discoveries - for example the piece "Ave Regina Caelorum" by Giovanni Antonio Rigatti - and ennobles the little-known compositions with his magnificent singing: Vitzthum's voice sounds clear and pure, but not at all sterile, but quite natural; the high notes seem completely effortless.
Together with the excellent viola da gamba ensemble "Les Escapades", he thus finds an extremely delightful mixture of sounds that is always in the service of musical line and expression. An equally exciting and touching journey into unknown realms of baroque music." (NDR Kultur 19.4.2009)
"Les Escapades demonstrate a good sense for atmospheric nuances and enter into an alert, closely meshed dialogue. Franz Vitzthum captivates with a very pleasant timbre, balanced tone and good text shaping."
(Fono Forum 7/2009)
More press commentaries
"A suite from "Stricturae Violae di Gambicae" (1677) by David Funck includes the dance movements Allemand-Courante-Air-Gigue. With a great deal of understanding and pronounced sensitivity, the artists here captured the respective character in the most beautiful way. Carefully paying attention to fine tuning and rhythmic precision, they also presented a sonata (...) by Clemens Thieme (...) as a thoroughly pleasing sound structure. (BNN 17.3.09)
"Sweet mysteries of sound...The most beautiful lucullic brought the wonderful viol consort "Les Escapades" into the performance, the deepest realms of the soul were set into vibration with wonderfully sonorously darkened sonority. In rich gradations of the viols as well as two violins and the organ positive, the most apart light effects of different degrees of brightness were created, the ensemble developed a beguiling play with light and shadow,...". (Rainer Köhl, Rhein Neckar Zeitung, 11.3.2008)
"...Their playing testifies to an intensive engagement with these sound jewels of a time that has long since disappeared. The proof that their cultivation is still worthwhile today has been sustainably provided by their cultivated and soulful playing." (Herbert Menrath, BNN)