Reviews

 

November 2018: The piece was deeply moving. This reporter has been reviewing the work of the Oratorio Chorale for more than 15 years, and would have to say that this concert represented the best of the Oratorio Chorale. The soloists were supremely gifted; the period musicians were excellent; the choir was in the best form I have ever heard them. As director Emily Isaacson moves out of her comfort zone into more and more challenging work, it is gratifying to watch her chorale move with her joyfully and masterfully. She trusts them to perform under pressure, and they never seem to falter. - Gina Hamilton, Wiscasset Newspaper

November 2018: Emily Isaacson, artistic director of the Oratorio Chorale, is attracting quite a following. On Sunday afternoon, the huge parking lot of St. John the Baptist Church in Brunswick was completely full, and its cavernous interior also. - Christopher Hyde, Maine Classical Beat

June 2018: Bachanalia: A Portland Bach ExperienceYou don't need to go to all of them, but if you bump into Emily, you may... Really, her passion is that contagious.  - Nate Eldridge, 207 Channel WCSH6

June 2018: [Isaacson] let the string melody sing.... and her brisk readings of the dance movements...were vigorous, tightly unified and carefully accented. The Orchestral Suite offered a good opportunity to focus on the new ensemble, which seems admirably experienced in the niceties of Baroque performance practice... the trumpet trio commanded the attention in the opening movement, and at various points in the work where Bach wanted to evoke the glory and power of heaven, the choir produced a lovely, flexible sound. - Allan Kozinn, Portland Press Herald

May 2018: How a Maine Conductor is Bringing Bach "Back to its Natural Habitat" Isaacson sees the festival as a celebration of the music of the Baroque era in traditional and progressive formats, to help listeners 'bridge the musical traditions of the past with the experience of the 21st century. - Bob Keyes, MAINE TODAY

November 2017: Without exception, its singing was solid, tight and texturally transparent, and whether Handel demanded vigor or introspection, the choir delivered it with admirable precision. And the orchestra, though playing modern instruments, produced a tight, focused sound that had the incisive edge of a period instrument group. - Allan Kozinn, Portland Press Herald

May 2017: Other ensembles in Maine – or anywhere, really – should take note of this program…There isn’t an ensemble in Portland – or anywhere, really – that couldn’t re-energize itself, and its audience, by periodically jettisoning the supposed rules of classical concert presenting, and offering programs as inventive, enlightening and moving as this one. - Allan Kozinn, Portland Press Herald

May 2017: As usual with Isaacson’s innovative ideas, this one worked perfectly

May 2017: Its kind of Rooted in Race: Concert tell story of America Using Spirituals

May 2017: Amazing Grace: the full panoply of human creative endeavor One of the finest things about the Oratorio Chorale... is the movement from classical music as a spectator sport to a fully participatory activity for musicians, singers and the audience….the Oratorio Chorale has done this every year since Isaacson’s inaugural. It’s not just music, it’s the full panoply of human creative endeavor. And it’s what the Oratorio Chorale does best.

April 2017: Little short of phenomenal

April 2017: The Oratorio Chorale's Young Artist Program

April 2017: Chamber choir hits high note in sacred works for women’s voices

February 2017: Oratorio Chorale gives Bach star billing, but Schütz holds his own. The lasting impression was Isaacson’s thoughtful phrasing, and the fluidity she brought to the motet as a whole

December 2016: Oratorio Chorale sings Noel Somehow, the roads were better on the way home, and the fellow travelers less hurried, everyone less focused on the work to be done to get through Christmas, and more thoughtful about the possibilities of something deeper and more meaningful arising from the season at the darkest hour of the year.

February 2016: Performing Arts in Maine 

March, 2015: Best of Bach with the Oratorio Chorale

December, 2014: Chorale reaches new heights, other happy memories of 2014: The Chorale, under Emily Isaacson, gave two of the year’s best performances.

December, 2014: Oratorio Chorale sings ‘Noel’

November, 2014: Oratorio Chorale’s Requiem a Work in Flight

November, 2014: Mozart’s Elusive Requiem

July, 2014: It’s all about Bach at Bowdoin

June, 2014: Oratorio Chorale delivers requiem with power, sweetness

June, 2014: Oratorio Chorale’s ‘German Requiem’

March, 2014: Shakespeare in Concert: Oratorio Chorale celebrates Shakespeare with fine performance

March, 2014: Oratorio Chorale stages a spectacle

February, 2014: Shakespeare in Concert: Video

November, 2013: Review: Oratorio Chorale’s ‘Musical Fireworks’

October, 2013: Featured Article: A homecoming for Emily Isaacson

July, 2013: Feature Article: After 27 years, New Leadership at the Oratorio Chorale