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press comments

"You can feel a spark race through the audience right from the very first number"
(Südwest Presse)

"No one can sit still in their seat once The Playfords begin playing" (Mitteldeutsche Zeitung)

"An absolutely exquisite pleasure" (PA)

"Irrepressible joie-de-vivre and accomplished musicality" (Badische Zeitung)

"A good number of modern jazz musicians’ mouths are going to hang open" (Radio Lotte)

"The audience was beside itself with excitement – and understandably so" (Neue Westfälische)

"The smiles on the faces in the audience speak volumes" (Prenzlauer Zeitung)

"Thunderous applause" (Recklinghäuser Zeitung)

"A band that can make big things happen in the folk scene" (Folkmagazin)

Reviews of concerts |
Reviews of the CD "Oranges & Lemons" |
Reviews of the CD "Nova! Nova!" |
Reviews of the CD "Luther tanzt"

Reviews of concerts

The Playfords beim Playgroundfestival im monami Weimar

[...] The Playfords have dedicated themselves to music – perhaps it would be better to say dance music – from the Renaissance and the early Baroque period. They use historical instruments but craft what can really be called a brand new music. It is true that the songs and methods The Playfords use are taken from old scores and books, and these are presented in an authentic way. But there is also a great deal of innovation happening here, especially when it comes to interpreting the music. Perhaps we can best call it old music in new arrangements, with fascinating improvisation to boot! A good number of modern jazz musicians’ mouths are going to fall open when they learn that this 500-year-old music was already custom-made for improvisation. And The Playfords have seized upon these improvisational possibilities with courage and determination. They play their instruments in a manner that appears rather impulsive, all without any need for amplification. The force comes from the intensity of play alone. Nowadays we have almost forgotten that this is even possible… The Playfords’ appearance was delightful and moving: Annegret Fischer was excellent on flute, the percussionist Nora Thiele was remarkable and captivating, Erik Warkenthin played the lute and baroque guitar with enviable professionalism, Benjamin Dreßler on the gamba seemed nearly a jazz performer, and last but not least there was Björn Werner, who sang and moderated the evening’s programme. [...]

(Radio Lotte "Kulturreport", Wolfgang Renner, 11.11.2013)


The Playfords, GewandhausChor, GewandhausKinderchor […] a spark of excitement shot through the audience […] a magical evening of early music that was contemporary in tone and refreshing, not dusty and sedate as it too often can be […]

(PA, Bastheim/Wechterswinkel, 30.12.2013 Klaus-Diether Hahn)


People in the first row began tapping their feet, and it was like a virus spreading. This music, so airy and lively, just invites you to dance. No one can sit still in their seat once The Playfords begin playing [...].

(Mitteldeutsche Zeitung, Undine Freyberg, 18.09.2012)


[...] Publisher John Playford undoubtedly would have been filled with delight to have watched these five 21st-century musicians handle their traditional instruments with great aplomb and bring such life to the performance in the tradition of the best English masters of dance music [...]

(Leipziger Volkszeitung, Birgit Hendrich, 16.12.2008)


The Playfords, GewandhausChor, GewandhausKinderchor An exquisite musical experience [...]

(Vacha..., Eva-Maria Ullmann, 09.01.2012)


The Weimar-based group’s playing, singing and arrangements wowed the audience in Rudolstadt [TFF - Tanz- und Folkfestival (Dance and Folk Festival)]. […] A band that can make big things happen in the folk scene. [...]

(Folkmagazin Heft 5 2005, Hedo Holland)

Reviews of the CD
"Oranges & Lemons"

[...] The Playfords perform with the solid rhythm of a true dance-band, and play many of the tunes with the precise repeats required for John Playford's choreographies. Whilst remaining steadfastly loyal to their patron composer, they find an astounding variety of approaches to his music, dancing nimbly from historical authenticity to witty invention, from period improvisation and folk traditions to daring culture-clashes, from lively arrangements to profound simplicity. [...] with an enthusiasm and professionalism that should delight UK audiences. I am happy to recommend the ensemble, with their fresh and highly individual approach to this much-loved repertoire.

(Dr. Andrew Lawrence-King, The Harp Consort, 5/2007)


Reviews of the CD
"Nova! Nova!"

[...] Björn Werner has a pleasingly conversational tenor. […] His voice, plus the group’s intimate accompaniment [...] make its “Veni, veni Emmanuel” a more plangent, melancholy experience than usual. There are chirpy, up-tempo numbers, (“Fum, fum, fum”, “Riu, riu, chiu”) too, in this quirky, endearingly novel issue.

(BBC Music Direct, 08.12.2010)


Reviews of the CD
"Luther tanzt"

[...] An uncommon CD, carefully collected and full of different timbres. It provides us with spiritual and folk songs as well as various musical developments of Luther and post-Luther-time in a vivid way into the living room.

Christoph Vratz, NDR-Kultur, 07.07.2016