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BBC Record Review Features Emma Johnson & Friends!

Andrew McGregor and Sarah Walker listen to Emma Johnson’s new SOMM release on BBC Record Review

“this is a recording by a very versatile wind and string group, Emma Johnson directs, and they perform and record in formations ranging from little trios right up to octets as well. …what people particularly latch onto in these performances is the obvious pleasure that they take in working as a team. There is such an enjoyment of music making. These are all the things that anyone who loves Emma Johnson will remember from her early Young Musician win. Apologies to Emma for mentioning that old warhorse but, you know, she absolutely does have this quality of shared joy…Peter Francombe makes such a fantastic contribution to [the Beethoven Septet] and the rhythmic feel over all is excellent and I love the way there’s a subtle difference between the driving quality of those main outer sections and the slightly more hesitant tread of the contrasting central one which really conjures up people dancing. I think what I love about this CD is it really does feel like a real concert. It’s a real recital. It goes so well from the Weber (or could be Küffner) and then the Beethoven and then we have these two little encores which demonstrate the potential of the ensemble – how witty it can sound, how you can draw out individual voices in a very engaging way…I think it’s important to recognise that Emma Johnson has made quite a lot of creative decisions here…these are very clever arrangements.”

—Andrew McGregor and Sarah Walker, BBC Record Review

Listen to the full episode (segment starts at the 10.50am mark) on BBC Radio 3!