Gramophone Magazine January 2020 Editor's Choice
BBC Music Magazine March 2020 Orchestral Choice
Compelling performances of two very different symphonies, the complex visionary pantheism of the ‘Pastoral’ an ideal foil for the unbridled ferocity of No 4. An added incentive, Martyn Brabbins’s idiomatic realization of Vaughan Williams’s choral Saraband 'Helen' (a first recording) is a real discovery.
This is a really good performance [of the Pastoral]. On one level Martyn Brabbins is superbly alert to the intricacies of the musical texture. After on hearing I got the score and listened again – so many details I’d hardly noticed before, but there they were. On another level I’ve rarely, if ever, been so aware of this symphony as a subtle but sustained emotional narrative…Brabbins’s Fourth has many of the same virtues, plus an edgy, uncomfortable intensity of its own. BBC *****
One immediately feels Brabbins’s special affinity for this music in the numinous pacing of the first movement of the Pastoral Symphony... Brabbins and the Hyperion recording team bring a thrilling clarity to the heavier timbres of the Scherzo and the diaphanous, mercurial (even Holst-like) coda...Brabbins’s reading of the first movement of the Fourth Symphony has much of the familiar violence and ferocity that we know from this work. Gramophone
Brabbins produces a beautifully measured and contemplative reading... Elizabeth Watts...finds an ideal balance between an other-worldly rapture and a more humane warmth... without doubt a very impressive and deeply felt performance. MusicWeb