★★★★★ The exciting, industrious score propelled the drama along like a favourable wind and never overpowered the action or voices. An outstanding piece.
★★★★ The music by Russell Hepplewhite was gripping and still haunts the mind. A powerful new opera.
The most exciting work on the programme was Russell Hepplewhite's Urban Abstract. In three movements it was dramatic, varied and well paced with a nice flow and a strong sense of harmony. It made the most powerful use of the whole ensemble.
Paradise in a Dreamdemanded to be heard for being simply as it was: a thing of beauty, finely crafted.
Hepplewhite's music, Antipodean-sunny and primary-coloured, carries the action happily. The composer's real strength lies in his succulent orchestration for just four crack musicians.
There is a practised economy to Hepplewhite's score, directed from the piano, with violin, viola and percussion combining in expansive phrases that conjure up skies, or staccato bursts that evoke the tense static of the aircraft radio.
It's fun, fast-moving, and entertaining, but it also tells the serious and touching story of Laika brilliantly.
★★★★ Russell Hepplewhite's lively score adds to the fun.
A wonderfully composed work that is deceptively simple in its chamber construction but in reality vibrant, playful and complex in its interweaving of instruments and themes.
From the overture one is struck by the musical language of the composer- accessible, clear, original and steeped in the extraordinary tradition of English music. And instrumentally with this little ensemble the composer manages to create joy and dramatic scenes efficiently.
Russell Hepplewhite was able to create on just four instruments colourful orchestral sounds; conveying the feel of the different scenes in an exquisite and witty way.
The mini musical based around the snooker was truly inspired.
An enjoyable and unabashedly tonal composition.
The music has a clear sense of direction, emotional content and sensitivity to the details of the words, including at the start and finish the 'awe and wonder' the composer requests.