Press

Falling in the Fire  BBC Proms
14 August 2016

The centrepiece was Charlotte Bray’s cello concerto, Falling in the Fire, a BBC commission world premiere with Guy Johnston as soloist…  A menacing belch of brass, dominated by trombones and tuba, launches the work with a jagged, rat-a-tat triplet fanfare out of which the solo cello emerges in lonely lament. Batterings of high woodwind, spiky and insistent, alternate with episodes of almost numb fragility… This British, Berlin-based composer, still in her early 30s, now has a growing catalogue and an assured and independent artistic voice.
Fiona Maddocks, The Guardian 21 August 2016

The warmth and richness of the BBC Symphony Orchestra won through in this Prom 39, especially in Charlotte Bray’s new cello concerto, Falling in the Fire. Propelled by outrage at the atrocities visited upon Syria by ISIS, Bray has responded with music that is defiantly exquisite as well as stark.… Surging with energy, her colouristic writing was acutely felt by both the orchestra and brilliant soloist, Guy Johnston.
Steph Power, The Independent 16 August 2016

Even with Mahler’s fifth symphony and a Haydn rarity in the programme, Charlotte Bray’s new cello concerto, Falling in the Fire, was the centrepiece of this unfailingly interesting and varied Prom.
Martin Kettle, The Guardian 15 August 2016

… The work oscillates between images of a damaged outer world and a traumatised inner world. It opens with explosive force – agitated strings matched by sharp punctuation from brass and percussion – until the solo cello emerges gradually from the aural chaos. What I found especially remarkable were the many instances of the composer’s brilliant ear for orchestration and her power to connect instantly with an audience…  Picasso was able to move millions with his representation of Guernica; modern music can give powerful expression to the anguish caused by inhumanity.
Alexander Hall, Bachtrack

Stone Dancer  Aldeburgh Festival
17 June 2016

Bray’s Stone Dancer is pensive, dynamic and outgoing, deftly detailed.
Colin Anderson The Classical Source 17

Entanglement  Presteigne Festival
27 August 2015

 … from its opening bars – a low shimmer from a gong, high-tension violin lines hanging in the air – it manages to convey the psychological tension and lingering, headache-like atmosphere of dread that permeates this whole remarkable score.
Richard Bratby
The Arts Desk

NMC Debut Disc At the Speed of Stillness
Released 13 October 2014

At the Speed of Stillness, an energetic and magical score. Well worth exploring.
Gary Higginson Music Web International September 2015

filled with piquant yet often spacious harmonies, frequent juxtapositions of orchestral groupings, and lithe pacing
Christian Carey Sequenza 21 2 July 2015

She may only have been composing in earnest for a decade but Charlotte Bray (b.1982) is now at the forefront of younger British composers. … powerful concertante writing of Caught in Treetops … beginning with a tensile cadenza which duly casts its aura over the respectively capricious and meditative movements. … Oneiroi finds the composer equally at home with the solo piano medium as fleeting motifs disperse then reassemble to yield music of unexpected emotional breadth. Conversely, At the Speed of Stillness unfolds over an expansive orchestral canvas … highly diverse textures outline an expressive progression left tantalisingly in abeyance at the close. …
Richard Whitehouse Gramophone Magazine January 2015

“These six works by a new British composer (b. 1982) attest a sharp ear and a vigorous imagination. … the music’s inventiveness and textural control are unmistakeable.”
Paul Driver The Sunday Times 14 October 2014

At the Speed of Stillness  Karina Canellakis and the Tanglewood Festival Orchestra
Tanglewood Music Festival, Osawa Hall, US
21 July 2014

“Charlotte Bray’s powerfully expectant “At the Speed of Stillness” (2012), conducted by Ms. Canellakis, managed the difficult feat of evoking ceaseless motion without feeling driven: It gave a sense of pulsating in place.”
Zachary Woolfe The New York Times 22 July 2014

The Sun was Chasing Venus  Dover Quartet and Daniel Lee
Savannah Music Festival, Trinity Church, Savannah, Georgia
3 April 2014

“a fine 15-minute work that was bookended by two pillars – Mendelssohn’s stirring Second Quintet in B flat, Op. 87, and Brahms’s glowing First Quintet in F major, Op. 88 – and came off none the worse in such company. … there was much textural variety and ample evidence of the composer’s keen musical ear and stylistic rigour.”
George Loomis Financial Times 6 April 201

Black Rainbow  Jac van Steen, CBSO youth orchestra
Symphony Hall, Birmingham
23 February 2014

“the gradual manoeuvre from manic energy to questioning quiet, and the handling of large orchestral forces, was skillfully done.”
Norman Stinchcombe Birmingham Post 27 February 2014

Oneiroi  Mona Asuka Ott
Festspiele Europäische Wochen, Passau, Germany
7 July 2013

“Die Auftragskomposition “Oneiroi” aus der Feder der jungen Britin Charlotte Bray reizt den Tonumfang des Steinway aus, spielt mit sorgsam konstruierten, in sich kreisenden Miniaturen und flirrenden Akzenten, die sich immer neu anordnen. Trotz des rhapsodischen Charakters und der dramatischen Ausbrüche bleibt die Ästhetik dieses Werks kühl und fern.
Katrina Jordan Passauer Neue Presse

[Translation:] “The commissioned work “Oneiroi” from the pen of the young Briton Charlotte Bray pushes the ton range of the Steinway to the limit. It plays with carefully constructed miniatures circling in on themselves and shimmering accents, which constantly rearrange themselves. Despite its rhapsodic character and the dramatic outbursts, the aesthetic of this works remains cool and detached.”

Fire Burning in Snow  Lucy Schaufer Birmingham Contemporary Music Group
Aldeburgh Festival, Britten Studio, Snape, UK
18 June 2013

“The premiere of Charlotte Bray’s Fire Burning in Snow – a highlight of BCMG’s Chamber Music Century – was vividly delivered by mezzo-soprano Lucy Schaufer, who even wore red shoes to match a line in Nicki Jackowska’s poems.”
Fiona Maddocks The Observer

“The music has an austerity that suits the poems, yet an emotional current runs through the cool yet singable vocal lines that allows the singer to express the feelings behind the sometimes cryptic words. Instruments are interestingly used, as when string harmonics and a mournful oboe suggest the icy locale where the singer’s lover ought to be. Ms. Bray is a composer whom we could be hearing more from.”
George  Loomis New York Times 25 June 2013

Making Arrangements  Grant Doyle, Jennifer France, Patrick Ashcroft, Katie Grosset and the Chroma Ensemble
Tête à Tête Opera Festival, Riverside Studios, London
2/3 August 2012

“the composer had a feeling for setting words… skilfully told in digestible, darkly dappled, sometimes waltz-inflected music…”
Geoff Brown The Times 7 August 2012

“Charlotte Bray’s lightly and deftly scored ensemble complements her sensitive and clear vocal writing”
Edward Bhesania The Stage 3 August 2012

At the Speed of Stillness  Sir Mark Elder & The Aldeburgh World Orchestra
BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London
29 July 2012

“The musical plan is lucid, the scoring deft and polished.
Andrew Clements The Guardian 30 July 2012

“Writing fast music is always a test of a composer, and Bray passed it with flying colours.
Ivan Hewett The Telegraph 30 July 2012

“Rhythmic patterns scarcely less complex than those of the Rite were skilfully negotiated, while Bray’s glittering tonal palette demonstrated a compositional virtuosity considerably less barbaric  than Stravinsky’s.
Barry Millington The Evening Standard 30 July 2012

“all glitter and shimmer and dyspeptic brass, opulent and highly stylised.”
Anna Picard The Independent 5 August 2012 

“It’s not just the relentless & irresistible energy that makes At the Speed of Stillness such a successful piece; there’s never a dull moment, the brilliant clarity of Bray’s orchestral writing is captivating. Moreover, she displays a remarkable lightness of touch as well as allowing no little beauty into music that is often fairly hefty.
Simon Cummings 5:4 30 July 2012

Sonnets and Love Songs  Roderick Williams  & Andrew West
Oxford Lieder Festival, Holywell Music Room, Oxford
27 October 2011

“It’s beautifully judged.
Andrew Clements The Guardian 30 October 2011

“… subtle yet instinctive word-setting that is very much her hallmark”
Hilary Finch The Times 31 October 2011

Still Standing  Anne-Sophie Duprels & Andrew Matthews-Owen
Purcell Room, Southbank Centre
16 October 2011

“original and memorable writing… The words and music were concentrated and beautiful …these two songs mark the start of an ongoing collaboration setting these haiku. We eagerly await more! 
This moving and memorable evening was preceded by a pre-concert talk held between the composers and chaired, with customary panache, by BBC Proms presenter Katie Derham. Composers rarely do themselves justice in these events, but Bray and Fokkens charmed in their honesty and genuine passion for what they do.”
Caroline McGee Musical Pointers 16 October 2011

Midnight Closes  Rhona McKail & Yshani Perinpanayagam
Tête à Tête Opera Festival, Riverside Studios
6/7 August 2011

“… Best of all was Fusebox’s Midnight Closes …showed a composer who can generate a Bergian lyrical intensity through both a fluent vocal line and a richly expressive piano part”
Rupert Christiansen The Telegraph 9 August 2011

Replay  piano quartet
Cheltenham Festival, Parabola Arts Centre
30 June 2011

“… all the important Bs: Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Britten, plus another: Charlotte Bray.
… Bray’s ten-minute dazzler for piano, violin, viola and cello. … my ears were busy with interlocked yearning phrases or rhythmic patterns both stabbing and chunky – material presented, inspected, the reconfigured with a bright imagination and, even better, a keen urge to communicate. It was all vivid and exhilarating…”
Geoff Brown The Times 4 July 2011

” …the piano’s urgently explosive moments, as well as its more ethereal engagement with the string trio, could reach a final distillation.”
Rian Evans The Guardian 1 July 2011

Caught in Treetops  violin concerto
Aldeburgh Festival, Snape Maltings Concert Hall
26 June 2011

” … a fine BCMG performance of her lunar violin concerto, Caught in Treetops, a seductive fantasy inspired by the poetry of Dante Gabriel Rossetti and of Lorca, and played with bright imagination by Alexandra Wood.”
Hilary Finch The Times 29 June 2011

“Charlotte Bray’s light-footed mini-violin concerto Caught in Treetops seized the image of the moon in Dante Gabriel Rossetti sonnet.”
Ivan Hewett The Telegraph 25 May 2010

” …the orchestration of Charlotte Bray’s violin concerto was rather tasty”
Igor Toronyi-Lalic The Arts Desk 27 June 2011

Caught in Treetops  violin concerto
BCMG/Knussen at the CBSO Centre, Birmingham
14 November 2010

“Turnage’s party reveals new star say critics”
Read more….… in the daring flights of the opening solo cadenza, deftly shaping and recharging the work’s energies; in the beautifully imagined shimmerings, trillings and pulsings with woodwind, harp and percussion; and in the dying fall of the work as it slowly unwinds to stillness.”
Hilary Finch The Times 17 November 2010

“Propelled by an improvisatory style and sparkling textures, the piece displayed a firm control of structure and pacing.”
Elmley de la Cour Birmingham Post 18 November 2010

“…finely heard and very cleverly scored for a dozen instruments.”
Stephen Walsh the arts desk 15 November 2010

Beyond a Fallen Tree  London Symphony Orchestra
LSO / Josef Suk, Mozart and Bray
23 May 2010

“…fixing in sharp colours a distinctive world of great beauty and surprising emotional gravity.”
Ivan Hewett The Telegraph 25 May 2010

Throw Back  Sirocco Saxophone Quartet
Park Lane Group Young Artists Series, Purcell Room
9 January 2009

“a young composer to watch…. a rhapsody of great haunting beauty”
Stephen Pritchard The Observer 11 January 2009

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