Reviews

Short Quotations from Reviews

“Callus plays with great conviction and sensitivity…She has a lovely lightness of touch when required and can summon up great power and gravitas in the dramatic
passages.”

Geoff Ogram – Music Web International, Gordon Jacob Concerti for viola and orchestra.

NEW GORDON JACOB CD REVIEWs

‘In all four work Helen Callus shows herself to be one of the foremost violists of her generation. Her effortlessly expressive playing is abely abetted by the versatile BBC Concert Orchestra under Stephen Bell.’

Paul A Snook, Fanfare Magazine

‘Helen Callus is a first-rate soloist, skittishly virtuosic when the score requires it of her but more often tapping the elusive vein of understated melancholy that gives these works their subtle poetry.’

Martin Anderson, Fanfare Magazine

NEW BACH SUITES CD REVIEWS

‘These are top drawer recordings in every way’. Callus’ playing should be considered exhibit A for anyone with remaining doubts about the viola’s ability to stand alongside the other strings as a viable solo instrument. This is among the very best of recordings of the suites on any instrument, and considering the overwhelming number of competitors, this is high praise indeed.’

Michael Cameron, Fanfare Magazine

‘The chief reason for the effectiveness of these recordings is Helen Callus’ musicianship. Her intonation is faultless, and her rhythms are rock-solid steady, and yet subtle enough to let the music breathe. There’s a strong sense of narrative in her playing, whatever the tempos, with the kind of well-judged cadence you get in fine acting. I came away from it both humbled and thrilled, and delighted by music’s ability to renew itself and us.’

Martin Anderson, Fanfare Magazine

‘What I think most listeners will be struck by on putting on this recording of the Bach cellos suites played on viola is the intensity of the playing and the hugeness of the recorded sound. Helen Callus has a beautiful tone, and she plays vigorously and appealingly.’

Michael Ullman, Fanfare Magazine

Technially, Callus’s playing lacks for nothing. Throughout she exhibits gorgeous tone and flawless rhythm and intonation.’

Christopher Brodersen, Fanfare Magazine

OTHER QUOTES

“Callus knows this is a record of unquiet sleep. She builds to a powerful climax that expresses unforgettably a love that will not yield to death. She seems to channel Clarke and her [performance] brought tears to my eyes.”

-American Record Guide

“Her recording of the sonata and several other short pieces by Clarke reveals two virtues a soloist must have to become a real artist; an analytical mind and the imagination to express the wisdom gained from analysis. Callus’s main virtue is that she has more to say as the movement progresses, knowing how to make the more reflective passages more interesting. She navigates the dreamlike currents of melody with much greater understanding. Callus doesn’t need brilliant passages to keep the music interesting.”

-American Record Guide

“Immediately distinguishing this recital is the distinctive timbre that Helen Callus elicits from her instrument – this is neither a darker-toned violin nor an anaemic-sounding cello. Also impressive from the start, in the movements from Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, is the evenness of Callus’s phrasing and production of sound. With unforced dramatic impetus and natural intensity, these excerpts do not sound ‘reduced’ (partly because of the sympathetic transcriptions and partly due to the spirited and heartfelt performances) and one does not miss the orchestra. Furthermore, the recording is focused and airy and allows a good balance between the instruments-a real duo sharing the same space rather than being presented as a soloist and an accompanist.”

-International Record Review

“Callus’s virtuosity in Prokofiev’s Young Juliet and Mercutio is admirable, with every note note clearly in place in spite of the breakneck tempo. I enjoyed this lovingly produced CD immensely, and hope there’s more of the same to come.”

-The Strad Magazine

“The night I wrote this review, I found her performance so moving, so addicting, that I kept listening to it over and over before I could bring myself to finish the review and go to bed. Very rarely have I felt a need to listen to a recording over and over. Only really great artistry can hold a listener in thrall like that, and that is the artistry of Helen Callus”

-American Record Guide, July/August 2007 “Portrait of the Viola” ASV

“Helen Callus plays with a sumptuous tone matched by flawless technique to give the most beautiful account I have ever heard of the Walton Concerto.”

-Classic FM Magazine (UK)
Orchestral Disc of the Month June 2006 “Walton” ASV”

“No previous recording surpasses this newcomer in terms of sweep or communicative ardour.”

-Gramophone Magazine, “Portrait of the Viola” ASV

“Helen Callus might just be the best friend the viola world ever had.”

-Strings Magazine

“The reading of the Loeffler Rhapsodies is the best I have ever heard. Part of the reason is the superlative viola playing by Helen Callus with a romantic sound that just blisters in crescendos.”

-American Record Guide, “Is But A Dream” Boston Records

“Helen Callus is perfectly attuned to the lyrical, elegiac mood of the Howells.”

-Classic FM Magaziine (UK) Orchestral Disc of the Month June 2006 “Walton” ASV

“Callus’s technical finesse was equally impressive; with a bow control that exhibited most clearly the other worldly subtleties of the opening of the Shostakovitch to the attenuated soliloquies of the third.”

-The Seattle Times

“Add Helen Callus’ stunning viola and you have a CD that you will play over and over.”

-Gramophone Magazine

“The grain of the viola is particularly stunning in its sensuality.”

-Gramophone Magazine

“Helen Callus is a violist of the highest caliber.”

-Strings Magazine

“Helen Callus creates a beguiling sound in this rewarding selection of English works.”

-Classic FM Magazine (UK), “Walton” ASV

Remarkable tonal beauty. Callus is a first rate player.”

-The Seattle Times

“Callus showed off her instrument and playing to perfection.”

-Seattle Post-Intelligencer

“Hers is a beautiful sound, one that seems infinitely malleable into all kinds of musical subtleties. Bold, true and confident, this is the sound that warmed up the Schumann, launched the triumphant opening of the Clarke and negotiated the acerbic heights of the Shostakovitch with equal success.”

-The Seattle Times

“Callus played with impeccable baroque sensibilities….the resulting sound floated out, soft-edged, rich, gorgeous and relaxed.”

-Seattle Post-Intelligencer

“English violist Helen Callus is beguiling in this delightful music by her compatriots.”

-Classic FM Magazine (UK), “Walton” ASV

“Callus made a grand entrance in her opening phrase, soaring and arresting, a mezzo soprano in full voice.”

-Seattle Weekly

“In Helen Callus these composers have found an ideal advocate; herself an alumna of the Royal Academy of Music, she shows a complete empathy with their respective idioms. She has all the fire needed for the more extrovert parts of the Clarke Sonata while never losing a certain reserve that is (or used to be) thought to be considered typically English.”

-The Strad Magazine

“Callus’ technique is unobtrusively excellent.”

-Seattle Post-Intelligencer

“The second movement [of the Walton Concerto] gives her the opportunity to let rip some fireworks

-Classic FM Magazine (UK), “Walton” ASV

“Helen Callus now gives a startling vivid and compelling account….with an energetic and impassioned reading…..the dashing scherzo proving the mettle of her partnership with McDonald.”

-BBC Music Magazine

“Callus’ new recording shows this remarkable violist in top form.”

-The Seattle Times

“As a compilation of essential English music for viola and orchestra this CD is a vital release. Feel absolutely no hesitation in rushing out and buying it as soon as the shops are open!”

-John France, Music Web International

“Callus’ viola sings and lulls with somnolent abandon.”

-Strings Magazine

“Helen Callus delivers Rebecca Clarke’s viola sonata with authority and impressive technical command. Throughout the opening she plays with greater abandon and expressive license [than on any other recording].”

-Classics Today Online

“Callus’s tone represents the viola sound at its finest and she knows how to craft that tone in beautifully shaped phrases. Her technique is outstanding with quick fingerwork and an agile, controlled bow.”

-The Seattle Times

“Callus is a consummate chamber player. Her tone is easy and mellow, with depth, and her technique is unobtrusively excellent.”

-Seattle Post-Intelligencer