The Caliban Quartet
Light, smiling, virtuosic music for four bassoons, piano, drums-- you never thought bassoons could sound like this.
The Caliban Quartet is surprising audiences everywhere with their unique combination of good humour, eclectic programming and virtuosic playing. Though bassoonists love this group, other listeners are delighted with the variety and exuberance they hear. Constantly on the prowl for unusual and exciting music, Caliban performs original compositions and their own arrangements of everything from Renaissance religious music to world music, jazz, and tangos.
The Quartet is made up of four of Canada's leading bassoonists including members of the Toronto Symphony and the National Arts Centre Orchestra.
"I was bowled over, I haven't heard such a feel-good record for I don't know how long ... it's that rare thing; it's not "classical", it's not "light", it's not even "contemporary" ... it's MUSIC and could unite a wide range of listeners accustomed to snob one another's product. More records like this might even give the lie to Norman Lebrecht's gloom and doom prognostications for the "serious" music scene."
Classical Music Web, Christopher Howell
"The Quartet itself is fabulous... Virtuosity is tossed off as if second nature, tonal quality is premium.... This is one bassoon album worth buying no matter who you are. Anyone in the mood for a party... will enjoy this tremendously, and I haven't had this much fun all year."
Steven Ritter in American Record Guide, Nov/Dec 2001
"I LOVE this CD -Toronto 's sparkling Caliban Quartet collaborating with the multi-talented Bill Douglas -a combination that can 't miss! Everytime I play this disc,it brings a smile to my face with its verve and spirit,and at other times a tear to my eye with its tenderness and poignancy.... In all it is a wonderful variety of music running the gamut of emotions-all superbly performed and recorded by these crazy Calibans!... The group sounds absolutely superb throughout. Technically they all sparkle.Fraser Jackson 's contra playing is,as usual,dazzling and sonorous. Combine all of the above with some excellent program notes in three languages,and you have an unbeatable musical treat in this disc. I think I need a new "category "for this disc, but I guess 4 Crows will have to do! Rating:4 Crows!"
Ronald Klimko in The Double Reed, November 2001
"This disc... could serve as a demonstration of technique and musicianship to any workshop, and it also has the feeling of a very good party.... Throughout, the Quartet's stunningly precise ensemble and tuning, and its expressive solo playing (even on contrabassoon) make this essential listening for bassoonists. But it's also great fun for the rest of us. Performance: 5 stars (out of 5); Sound: 5 stars (out of 5)"
Anthony Burton in BBC Music Magazine, November 2001
"I consider this CD a must have for anyone who likes to smile when they listen to chamber music."
Merlin Williams, Whole Note Magazine