Reviews

“…ein Höhepunkt….ergreifende Musik “

Ralph Rousseau ist ein Könner an der Gambe.”

Rüdinger Schwanz in  Thüringer Allgemeine, July 11, 2017, about the concert in Ifta, July 8.

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“…[I listened] to this record over and over again, with rising enthusiasm.”

“…[he plays] so virtuoso and with such abandon, that one gladly follows him in this world of unusual  sounds and expressions…”

“These Pritty Things make for grounding and comtemplation at the same time.”

Matthias Böde in Stereo, May 2017 on “A pritty thing”

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“…uncompromising extremes of both romping toughness, and breath and fragility, giving wings to to the free storytelling of [Hume’s]  ayres.”

“…stirring battlefield calls, but also contemplative abstruseness.”

“His resume reads like a modern-day picaresque novel…”

Mischa Spel in NRC/NRC Next Mar 23, 2017 on “A pritty thing”

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“A powerful plea for Tobias Hume…a treasure cove of shades, from trumpets to guitars…”

Frits van der Waa in De Volkskrant, Mar 17, 2017, on “A pritty thing”

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“The gamba player as storyteller. The beauty is magnetic.”

Mischa Spel in NRC, Feb 2, 2015.

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“At last, one could actually HEAR the viola da gamba and at last the instrument sounded song-like and lyrical”

Erik Voermans in Het Parool, November 2014, about the St Matthew Passions with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.

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“Combined with [Ralph’s] gamba – the only gamba player that can make you understand why Bach chose this difficult instrument for this piece – Komm süßes Kreuz became one of the pivotal points of the evening.”

Maarten Mestrom in Stentor, April 14, 2014 about the St Matthew Passion in Apeldoorn

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“In the former the (in context) eccentric and anachronistic sound of Ralph Rousseau’s viola da gamba sounds like historically informed performance visiting the Planetarium.”

gramophone.co.uk

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“The only gamba player that can show why Bach chose this extraordinary instrument for this piece”

Stentor, April 2 2012, about the St Matthew Passion in Apeldoorn

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“A fantastic cd…lots of love and passion…a true feast for the ears…the cooperation with Vloeimans [..] is so incredibly special that it asks for a new cooperation. Preferably a full cd.”

Audio Review Feb 26, 2012.

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“…ethereal sounds….compacted passion…”

Bertjan ter Braak over Silence in De Telegraaf, Jan 3, 2012.

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“A special album for people with open ears and an open mind”

Erik Voermans over Silence in Het Parool, Nov 2011.

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“Around [the actors] wanders a kind of angel – Edison winner Ralph Rousseau in radiant white – who evens out the wrinkles [in the paper] with his pastoral melodies on the viola da gamba.”

Annette Embrechts about Rock Paper Scissors in Volkskrant, Oct 6, 2010.

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“This “self-portrait” of Ralph Rousseau belongs on the same shelf as the collections of all the renowned gamba players, from Jordi Savall to Wieland Kuijken, from Philippe Pierlot to Vittorio Ghielmi.”
“Rousseau’s “added value” is in the maturity of something we can only call “intelligence”, because this programme is most certainly that.”
“… a soloist who fully deserves to be warmly congratulated ads he passed the exam with honors, thereby giving him a place in the viol’s hall of fame.”

“Gambomania” Cd of the Month in Classic Voice (Italy’s no1 classical magazine), 5 stars, September 2010. Translated from the Italian by Jan van der Haar.

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“… a remarkable contribution [to the St Matthew Passion] by Ralph Rousseau…his command of the instrument demonstrates that it is both a melody and a chordal instrument.”

Maarten Mestrom in Stentor, 29-03-2010, about the St Matthew Passion with the Arnhem Philharmonic on March 26, 2010.

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“Kuhr and Rousseau give you the ultimate experience in music: the shivers.”

Herman Veenhof in Nederlands Dagblad, 29-01-2010, about “Tourbadours van alle tijden”

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“…he proves himself to be a proud nobleman and a sensitive singer…he effortlessly brings out all the typical characteristics of the [..] instrument.” “…[the gamba sounds] surprisingly well in the arrangements of [French folk music].”

Guido Fischer in Rondo (Germany), May 2009, about Chansons d`amour. 4 star review.

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“…outstanding…”

Ger van der Tang in Algemeen Dagblad, 6-4-2009 about the St. Matthew Passion in Dordrecht.

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“…[it] shows you don’t have to travel back in time to hear sumptious gamba sounds”
“…perfect for the end of a gamboling gambist’s night out on the town.”
” [a] cornucopia of mellifluous sounds […] captured in Technicolor beauty ”

(4-to-5 star review of Chansons d`amour)
Laurence Vittes in audaud.com, Mar 23, 2009.

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“…compelling…like Orpheus himself…”
“…simply phenomenal…the audience in extacy…”
“…there may be no other [..] who masters the viol so completely like the Dutch viola da gamba virtuoso Ralph Rousseau…”

Werner Bodendorff in Kieler Nachrichten, Jan 2009, about the concert in Plön, Dec 28 2008.

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“…it works. Even more: it fascinates!”
“One is immediately won over for the combination of a singing gamba and accompanying string quintet.”

Peter van der Lint in Trouw, 28-11-2008, about Chansons d`amour.

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“as if bass, string quartet, and viola da gamba have been created for each other”
“…more than a flirt. This is true and deep love.”

Cornell Evers in Klassieke Zaken, 11-2008, about Chansons d`amour.

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“…an album with an incredible amount of guts”
“…an exclusive musical dish with the most expensive ingredients”

Diederick Broerse in Straatjournaal, December 2008.

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“…the baroque sound of the gamba turns out to be a very good in interpreting the melancholy and dreamlike atmosphere of the chansons” “…a joy to listen to.”

Wilfred van de Poll in Nederlands Dagblad, 21-11-2008, about Chansons d`amour.

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“One of the most surprising and enjoyable cd’s of 2008”

Oswin Schneeweisz in HP/De Tijd, 24-10-2008, about Chansons d`amour. ***** rating (100%)

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“…Ralph Rousseau makes a long nose to all the purists [..] in early music.” “…glowing and marvelous…Rousseau’s efforts to make the viola da gamba more widely known are given form in a convincing way…”

Erik Voermans in Het Parool, Oct 22, 2008 **** Rating

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“Highly recommended for the lovers of the classical French chanson”

En Route, Winter 2008.

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“…Beautiful and very much hum-along-able.”

Elegance about Chansons d`amour (Oct 2008)

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“This is how hip early music can be…an example of the alive-ness of early music….youthfully dynamic…rubbing dissonances…wild accents and skillfully played passaqes and ornaments.”

Georg Pepl in Hessisch-Niedersächsischen Zeitung June 6, 2008.

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“…Tjeerd Top [..] and Ralph Meulenbroeks (gamba) [contributed] solo’s of a high standard.”

De Telegraaf 17-3-2008, about Ivan Fisher’s St. Matthew Passion with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.

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“…his playing is so spiritual, breathtaking, and incredibly virtuoso…when he starts playing his beautiful old viola da gamba you are carried away…The three sonatas [..] by J.S. Bach leave a lasting impression…exquisite and pure ensemble playing…elated and serene…The vivace is as bubbling and tantalizing as a life-giving elixer. The fact that Ralph is a magical raconteur shows even more in his solo gamba playing…

Lidy van der Spek in Leids Dagblad, November 8 2007, after a concert with Pieter-Jan Belder, playing the gamba sonatas by J.S. Bach

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“At last someone who plays Bach without the calvinistic rigidity, without the puristic fanaticism of the Early Music movement. [On this cd] we “simply” hear moving and compelling musicianship, with brisk tempi in the fast movements and spontaneous and easy interaction.”
Oswin Schneeweiss in HP/DeTijd October 26 2007 about the cd “Back with Bach”
“the best possible defence for this music…gamba playing at the highest level…a listening adventure at the highest level…most recommended.”

Gerard van der Leeuw about the cd “Back with Bach” on bestmusicteacher.com, September 2007.

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“…truly musical star time…performing like a young god…”
“…amazing interpretations and an almost breathtaking presence…” “…rare and intelligent playing…”

Werner Bodendorff in Kieler Nachrichten, May 8 2007, about the concert in “Prinzenhof” in Plön (Germany).

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“…an impressive performance. This was mainly thanks to the orchestra with brilliant and enervating solos by [among others] Ralph Meulenbroeks (viola da gamba)”

Eddie Vetter in De Telegraaf, 2-4-2007, about Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Sir Roger Norrington.

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“His performances of A Question and An Answer, two of four selections by the English eccentric Captain Tobias Hume, while quicker and more evenly keeled than Savall’s reference interpretations (Alia Vox), are also just as witty, clever, and probing. Meulenbroeks’ rendering of the Fifth sonata from Johannes Schenck’s L’Echo du Danube also is expertly done, with the composer’s often highly disparate stylistic palette carefully considered and played up for maximum impact.”
“…we hear a wonderfully deliberate, brusque performance of the Arabesque, and by way of contrast a La Reveuse that must be counted among the slowest, most soulful renderings ever recorded.”
“Meulenbroeks is as interpretively insightful and technically adept as any gambist performing today.”

John Greene on Classics Today about the SACD “Gambomania”, December 2006. Score: 100%

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“…fairy-like…Fascinating…”

Score: 100% (5 stars). Kasper Jansen in the leading Dutch Cultural Newspaper NRC Handelsblad, December 16th, 2006 about the cd “Christmas Carols”

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“…the performance is just fantastic…Good taste and nuance rule supreme… no superficiality…”

Rudolf Nammensma in Leeuwarder Courant, August 18 2006, about the cd “Moved by Marais”

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“…one of the risks taken when recording familiar repertoire is that your performances will be subject to comparison with plenty of competition; and in this respect Meulenbroeks and his colleagues, violinist Remy Baudet and harpsichordist Pieter-Jan Belder, fare exceptionally well. The group’s skill and consummate musicianship is second to none…”
“Meulenbroeks and colleagues deliver consistently rewarding, exceptionally satisfying performances throughout, and if I had to recommend just one CD to a Marais neophyte, this would be it.”

John Greene on Classics Today, August 2006, about “Moved by Marais”

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“[Le talent de Marais]…avait séduit le roi. Comme le talent de Ralph Meulenbroeks a séduit le public, comme à chaque fois qui’il se produit…on avait l’impression d’entendre plusieurs musiciens.”

L’echo Valentinois, August 12, 2006, about the concert in St Paul-le-Jeune.

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“In Meulenbroeks’ hands, the gamba has an athletic figure, excellent eyes and a razor sharp mind…”
“…with Meulenbroeks, everything is different. But if you hear him play, you know that all resistance is futile.
“…with impressive enthusiasm and musicality [the musicians] aproach the often heartbreakingly beautiful music by Marin Marais. Noone has sung of the loneliness of the human soul more strikingly than Marais. But thanks to Meulenbroeks’ warm and human tone, there fortunately always is comfort as well.”

(Erik Voermans in “Het Parool”, June 27th, 2006, about the cd “Moved by Marais”, 4 stars)

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“A virtuoso plea for Marais’ music…”
“…he masterly transformed the changing moods into sounds. The entire concert left the listener with an impression of the variation and quality of
Marais’ music.”

René van Peer in Eindhovens Dagblad, June 12th 2006, about “Moved by Marais”, June 10th 2006 in Eindhoven.

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“…a concert by Meulenbroeks is an oasis.”
“…a joyful, accessible, and informative one man show. He manages to capture a younger audience’s attention…”
“Meulenbroeks’ playing is recalcitrant. He sometimes seems to be playing for his life….the gamba produces a rare sonorous and solid sound.”

Oswin Schneeweisz in HP/De Tijd, April 14th 2006

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“Both [bass en tenor] were excellently supported by gamba player Ralph Meulenbroeks in their aria’s…”

Paul Herruer in Dagblad van het Noorden, April 13th 2006

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“It were the people that played for the first time [with the orchestra], like […] Ralph Meulenbroeks on the gamba who through the beauty of their playing provided the beautiful and unadorned moments.”

Mischa Spel in NRC Handelsblad, april 8th, 2006, about the St. John’s passion by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Roger Norrington

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“Many people could feel attracted to the intimate character and the remarkable and friendly sound of the instrument, says Meulenbroeks. And upon the release of this dvd these people could very well grow in numbers, because if you see him performing, you want to know everything there is to know about the instrument. When Abel died, the gamba was buried with him, so to speak. But Meulenbroeks dug her up again!”

Andrew van Parijs in Klassieke Zaken, Jan-Feb 2006, about the dvd “Gambomania”

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“…a solo concert [with an unknown instrument and unknown music] is a real challenge. He passed the test with honours.”
“…a magnificent figure who effortlessly attracts and captures the attention…”
“…a virtuoso player of this difficult 7-stringed instrument…”
“…his fingers rushed fluently along the wide fingerboard, taking one difficult chord after the other, the bow jumping from one string to another…”
“Thus he made the music flourish, enchanting his audience with this special instrument.”

René van Peer in Eindhovens Dagblad, 23-1-2006 about the concert in Valkenswaard the day before

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“In a short time span he has succeeded in gaining much attention for the viola da gamba [and] the composers [..] alike.
“On stage, [he] appears to be not just an inspired musician, but an able entertainer as well.”

Piet Snijders in Eindhovens Dagblad, 17-12-2005 about the dvd “Gambomania”

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“Ralph Meulenbroeks, ‘gambomaniac’, considered one of the best in the world…”

Rien Frölich in AD/Haagsche Courant, 15-12-2005

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“With his almost 300-year-old viola da gamba, Meulenbroeks bowed and plucked himself into the hearts of the 200 people in the full church. ” “…a diverse and enchanting experience…”
“The virtuoso and sensitive two-hour programme […] was tasteful in every respect.”

Annie Sauerwein in Frankenpost/Hofer Anzeiger, 26-7-2005

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“Meulenbroeks is now considered one of the best gamba players of this time. Listen to this new solo-cd -with German, English, and French repertoire- and you will understand why. You get the feeling that he is improvising spontaneously [..]. Then you take the sheet music and find that he is doing justice to every single small written detail. Furthermore you are impressed by the passion in his playing and his glowing, voice-like sound. Ralph Meulenbroeks is capable of letting the music speak for itself.

Dimitri van der Werf in Dutch Music Magazine Klassieke Zaken, March-April 2005, about “Gambomania”.

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“…if you play like [Ralph Meulenbroeks] a touch of vanity is quickly forgotten.”

Score: 90%. Frits van de Waa in Volkskrant May 12th 2005, about “Gambomania”.*

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“…he makes the sounds of his seven-string gamba and his six-string division viol flourish, never grinding down in “over-beautiful” musing, and keeping his performance exciting down to the last small ornaments. Elegance with him is nowhere “pretty pretty period-stuff” – it is based on strength. Score: 80/90%

Paul Herruer in Dutch Music Magazine Luister, April 2005 about “Gambomania”.

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“With 100 solo concerts each year Meulenbroeks can call himself without reservation the Netherlands’ most striking ambassador for the gamba.” “The sonata [K.F. Abel] … sparkles with dazzling virtuoso chord playing”
“[An] own arrangement of the Cors the Chasse with countless thirds and sixts effortlessly creates an image of a hunting scene”

Mischa Spel in NRC Handelsblad, March 11th, 2005 about the cd “Gambomania”

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“The instrumental soloists all stood out with their musical virtuosity. I would like to especially praise gamba player Ralph Meulenbroeks.”

Hans Rikkert de Koe in de Gooi- en Eemlander, March 7 2005, about a St Matthew passion

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“No better ambassador for the gamba than Ralph Meulenbroeks. The gamba player that graduated cum laude in both physics and music has been dubbed the “gambomaniac”… Meulenbroeks […] can do anything, also play fantastically in gamba music of the 17th and 18th century…”

Score: 100% (5 stars). Kasper Jansen in NRC Handelsblad, February 19th, 2005 about the cd “Gambomania”

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“Ralph Meulenbroeks played […] the viola da gamba […] with such vigour and passion that the audience remained impressed until long after the concert.
Meulenbroeks’ playing filled the little church with warm and full sounds…”

Willemijn van Hees, BN/De Stem January 24th 2005

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“…Meulenbroeks is not only a great player, but he also chooses with great care the right instrument for the right piece.”
“This virtuoso and ingeneously composed music is played with flair by Ralph Meulenbroeks, as if he’s improvising. The other repertoire on the cd is also given exactly the right touch by him. An essential cd…”

Dutch Music Magazine Luister, September 2004. Score: 90%

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“…uninhibited passion radiates form every note on this solo-cd…”
“For him [Meulenbroeks] a new word could be invented: gambomaniac.” “Ralph Meulenbroeks delivers a magnificent first album. A true monument for the art of gamba playing.”

Marcel Bijlo in Klassieke Zaken, May 2004.

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“Beautifully played and recorded”
“a fabulous musician”

Theo Wubbolts, HVT klassiek – 1/2004

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“Concert de haut niveau… Ralph….a ravi son auditoire….une stature….” “Un concert original sur la forme et sur le fond, mêlant avec talent, humour, virtuosité…le public n’avait pas envie de le laisser partir…”
“…il fait un triomphe…. Ralph Meulenbroeks est un très grand musicien, un véritable virtuose, et le public tombe vite sous le charme.”
“…très touchant, et d’une qualité musicale rarement atteinte…”
“Ralph rayonne avec son instrument, ils font un, et on a l’impression de vivre une histoire d’amour. C’est vraiment une prestation à ne pas manquer.” “Ce jeune gambiste a enchanté le public qui l’a rappelé plusieurs fois.” “On sent qu’il est plongé das sa musique…c’est rare de voire quelqu’un si
proche de son instrument…il est passioné par son instrument…un moment d’intense plaisir avec un artiste de grand talent…un rendez-vous à ne pas manquer”

Le Dauphiné Libéré, La Tribune, Echo- Valentinois, Midi-Libre, About the French tour

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Visit the website of the Viola da Gamba Society of New England, USA, and read the review!

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“If the viola da gamba is the queen of all instruments, Ralph Meulenbroeks must be the king of her players.”
“Their interaction cannot be characterized as other than “loving” and “passionate”.
“Meulenbroeks has a feeling for the theatrical.”
“The sounds that he evokes from his two magnificent instruments range from seductive to powerful, from a soft whisper to the drone of an organ.” “…unforgettable recital…”

Rien Frölich – (translated from) the Delftsche Courant – July 12th 2004

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“Finely tuned ensemble playing. Ralph Meulenbroeks and David Jansen impressive on gamba and harpsichord.”
“…[the playing] was so lively, so committed, and so exciting in sound that the enchanted audience let itself be willingly be taken back to a time long ago…”
“…[the encore] was played as wonderful as anything preceding it.”

Ute Mai in “Landeszeitung”, Oct 6th, 2004

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“…Meulenbroeks gave prove of his international class…”

Schaumburger Wochenblatt, Oct 6th, 2004

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“[They]..do not care about formal authenticity, but their catching way of making music almost certainly makes them more authentic than all these “serious” people. Moreover, they are seasoned professionals. They know exactly what they’re doing and keep the audience’s attention from start to finish…..What a delight!”

Haagsche Courant, Dec. 4th, 2003

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“[They]..do not care about formal authenticity, but their catching way of making music almost certainly makes them more authentic than all these “serious” people. Moreover, they are seasoned professionals. They know exactly what they’re doing and keep the audience’s attention from start to finish…..What a delight!”

Haagsche Courant, Dec. 4th, 2003

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“Ralph Meulenbroeks [..] demonstrates the viol as a solo instrument in all its technical possibilities and moods. Profound [Bach] …virtuoso [Telemann] … brilliantly [divisions by Simpson] … merry [Hume]”
“…playing everything by heart…clearly in love with the sound of his [..] instrument…”
“David Jansen [..] presents himself as a fascinating soloist …” “…delightful…”

Albert Brüggen in Haarlems Dagblad, May 17th 2004