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“This performance was a fine one, the BBC Symphony Orchestra delving into repertoire it cannot have encountered much before. Synergy Vocals was typically excellent, with the high soprano of Amy Howarth and Heather Cairncross’s rich alto deserving of special mention.”
“A Superb new release…this performance is quite the equal of, and possibly more colourful than, Reich’s second version, on Nonesuch, and clearly outstrips the original, less trim DG version”
Gramophone Magazine Ictus recording of Steve Reich’s Drumming
“the performances are stunning. Synergy Vocals specializes in new music and performs this score with energy, responding well to the need for extended ranges, fast, not all together convenient, text phrasing and exaggerated timbres with ease.”
Dreamhouse – Steven Mackey
“Heather Cairncross made a tremendous impression when I first saw her one woman jazz musical at the Brighton Festival a couple of years ago. She is one of the few singers who successfully makes the crossover from the world of classical music, where she has a high reputation, to jazz. Renowned jazz pianist and composer David Newton was encouraged by Cairncross to add words to her Portrait Of A Woman song cycle after hearing it in its orchestral form.
The result was a pleasing mixture of songs with jazz trio accompaniment augmented with the classical talent of the Arundel Ensemble. The songs were about relationships, mainly expressed through female eyes with occasionally a man’s perspective. Styles ranged from haunting ballads, laments, lyrical outpourings to those with a breezy jauntiness.
Newton’s skilful piano accompaniment often brought to mind the sound of a sophisticated nightclub, and every song was exquisitely delivered. ‘Words Alone Can Never Say’ allowed Cairncross to release the soaring power of her voice. Particularly captivating was ‘Grace’, a sweet song expressing the nervousness and exhilaration of new-found love. The excitement of the swinging blues of Hot Stuff, Latin tempo of For The First Time and the encore number, Both Sides Now, made one wish for more of the same.”
Portrait Of A Woman: Heather Cairncross and David Newton, Arundel Festival
By Barrie Jerram for the Brighton Argus
“Heather Cairncross as Beth was a powerhouse performance.”
Musical Stages Magazine
“The first thing I must mention is the amazing voice of the – can we call her a heroine? Not being classically trained myself, as most people in Buxton are at the moment, I found Heather Cairncross’s voice seductive. She captured for me the pain and self recrimination we all feel in a marital breakdown. …… the lyrics were excellent and sung by Heather with great depth of feeling, reflecting perfectly the loving and protective care towards her children of a newly divorced mother. Anyone who has gone through (and survived) a broken relationship, whether male or female – will find this musical very authentic – believe me – I’ve been there.”
Roger Beresford, Buxton Festival