Live performance, May 2, 2014

Mozart - Requiem - Lacrimosa

Mozart - Requiem - Dies irae

 

Live performance, March 2, 2015

Beethoven - Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major - Andante con moto


Reviews

Steinberg's Passion Week
The New York Times, October 30, 2014

Maximilian Steinberg’s “Passion Week” arrived in New York on Tuesday evening in a stunning performance by the Clarion Choir, conducted by Steven Fox at the Church of St. Jean Baptiste on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Actually, it had semi-arrived in April, when Clarion gave a closed reading of it...

The work is a treasure. Steinberg’s style, with its contrapuntal complexities and its enriched harmonies, is slightly advanced over that of Rachmaninoff, excerpts from whose “Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom” filled out the Clarion program in lovely fashion.

The Clarion forces, who specialize in early music, have been expanding their range of late, and they did so decisively here. (With a little help: This music demands a deep rolling bass sound, and Clarion brought in a noted basso profundo from Michigan: Glenn Miller.) The solos were well delivered by Estelí Gomez, soprano; Michael Steinberger, tenor; and Philip Cutlip, baritone.

Happily, the Clarion version of the work is being recorded this week, as Cappella Romana’s was in the spring. Truly, however belatedly, Steinberg’s moment has arrived.

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Rachmaninoff - All-Night Vigil
The New York Times, January 4, 2014

An inspired interpretation... Under Mr. Fox's deft guidance, the choir’s voices blended beautifully, with alluring details of phrasing and dynamics admirable from the opening... Mr. Fox revealed the drama in the score with vivid dynamic shadings. In 'Blessed Is the Man,' the 'Alleluias' unfolded with characterful contrast; first solemn, then impassioned, before concluding with an introverted whisper. Intonation and pacing were exemplary throughout the performance.

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Bolivian Baroque
The New York Times, May 3, 2013

Steven Fox, Clarion’s artistic director, and Sebastián Zubieta, music director of the Americas Society, conducted the beautifully rendered program. Highlights included the exquisite “Dulce Jesús Mio,” a work by an anonymous composer that began with an a cappella solo gracefully sung by Jolle Greenleaf.

Estelí Gomez’s clear, bright voice alternated with the choir in “Iesu Dulcissime,” also by an anonymous author. The exchange of text between ensemble and soloist heightened the dramatic tension of Zipoli’s “Beatus Vir,” with the soprano Katia Escalera elegantly rendering the haunting “Misericors.”

GEORGE FRIDERIC HANDEL – JUDAS MACCABEUS
Stan Metzger, Seen and Heard International (UK), May 24, 2011

“The singers were particularly impressive. Steven Caldicott Wilson…was formidable in ‘Sound an alarm.’ Both Lauren Snouffer and Silvie Jensen sang with great poise and élan. Daniel Taylor’s Priest reached a whole other level of beauty in “Father of Heav’n.” Indeed, his ability to produce such a wonderful rounded bell-like sound so effortlessly is something from “Heav’n.” Jesse Blumberg sang warmly and sensitively. Commendations are always owed to any and all players of the torturous valveless instruments.

“What can I say about Steven Fox that I haven’t said before? Adding to my last rave review, I can attest that having experienced his recent conducting with two different orchestras, where he achieved similar impressive results, there is no questioning his ability to draw out from musicians their best possible playing. Clearly, he has a tremendous rapport with musicians, and this ability makes him a conductor to follow. “

Allan Kozinn, The New York Times, May 19, 2011

“Mr. Fox led his small, polished choir and a robust period-instrument band in a brisk, carefully balanced reading, and had the benefit of a solid, well-matched cast of soloists. Steven Caldicott Wilson, the tenor, projected Judas’s valor and faith powerfully, qualities matched by Jesse Blumberg in Simon’s brief appearances. Silvie Jensen, a mezzo-soprano, and Lauren Snouffer, a soprano, are both adept at Handelian filigree and gave beautiful accounts (alone and together) of most of the arias by the unnamed characters. Daniel Taylor, the countertenor, picked up a few of the bit parts, too, and gave an exquisite performance of ‘Father of heav'n!’”

MORTON FELDMAN - ROTHKO CHAPEL in the Tully Scope Festival
Jake Cohen, Consequence of Sound, February 26, 2011

Feldman’s Rothko Chapel… absolutely blew me away. From the four ovations it received, I think the rest of the audience felt similarly. Rothko Chapel became a religious experience in the…ethereal voices of the Clarion Choir. … it was the Clarion Choir’s accuracy and blend that transformed this performance into a transcendent experience.”

Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times, February 25, 2011

...the Clarion Choir gave a pensive and mystical performance of the 30-minute “Rothko Chapel” …The calm, sensitive performance…conveyed the simplicity and directness of this wondrously restrained music. And the audience, which had listened with uncommon contemplativeness, gave the performers a long ovation.

JS BACH CHRISTMAS CANTATAS
Stan Metzger, Seen and Heard International (UK), December 22, 2010

When Bach is performed well, as it was tonight, one could almost think, ‘Why bother with any other music?’ ...a performance as perfect as the one tonight had my mind racing... I had never noticed the beautiful interpolations of the wind solo refrains from the first movement into the final Chorale of the second cantata. The repartee between the strings and the oboe d'amores, each group in respectful conversation, was new to me. I was mesmerized by the energy, enthusiasm, passion and attention to detail displayed here ... [Steven Fox’s] choice of tempo, his understanding of Bach and Baroque style, and his selection of seldom-heard repertory are unexcelled.

THE ORGAN MASTER: JS BACH in the White Light Festival
Barbara Jepson, The Wall Street Journal, November 18, 2010

[Paul] Jacobs asked the superb Clarion Choir to perform [the Bach chorale settings] a capella before each organ setting. Skillfully led by Steven Fox, the choristers sang with purity of tone and ensemble precision.

Dennis Rooney, Musical America, November 19, 2010

Fox and his choristers performed [Bach’s choral settings] artistically, their beautiful voices sounding out ideally...

BACH FOR CHRISTMAS
James Oestreich, The New York Times, December 16, 2008

Steven Fox, Clarion's artistic director, led judiciously paced performances; and the terrific chorus, which also furnished the vocal soloists, produced a clear, sturdy sound... In all it was a deeply satisfying evening...

TREASURES FROM THE COURT OF FREDERICK THE GREAT
George Loomis, Musical America, February 4, 2008

Under its new music director, Clarion Music Society is re-emerging as an important force in early music. Young maestro Fox took over Clarion two years ago and seems poised to usher the ensemble into an exciting new era... Fox's conducting showed a sure feeling for the elegance and drama of the music.

RUSSIAN JEWELS FROM THE COURT OF CATHERINE THE GREAT
Leslie Kandell, The Berkshire Eagle, July 30, 2008

Technique and tone in the long program were precise, articulate and strong, with Fox in control of dynamics

David Moore, American Record Guide, September/October 2007

The music showed imaginative word painting and a rich sonority that one hardly expects to encounter in 18th Century music. Steven Fox conducted with precision and expression… The concert introduced me to composers I have missed and showed me new sides to composers I thought I knew.

ALL-BEETHOVEN CONCERT
James Oestreich, The New York Times, October 14, 2006

Bernard Haitink and the London Symphony Orchestra loomed like Goliath this week with their complete round of the Beethoven symphonies at Avery Fisher Hall. But on Wednesday evening, as that series hit its climax with the Ninth Symphony, the plucky little Clarion Music Society mounted a significant challenge with a Beethoven concert of its own at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola on Park Avenue. In terms of novelty and adventure, David won.

The venerable Clarion Music Society, founded in 1957, stopped performing in 2001, five years after the death of its founder, Newell Jenkins. But it came back to life early this year with Steven Fox as artistic director, and it is good to have it back.