Gramophone about the album 'Stabat Mater'

Pergolesi's Stabat mater and Vivaldi's Nisi Dominus must be high on the list of frequently recorded Baroque music, and I often wonder whether we need a continued focus on what are now canonic and well-known pieces. This new release, however, is moving and poignant: it is obvious these artists have something personal to say about the Stabat mater.


The orchestra are superb accompanists, often setting scenes with striking moods and then operating subtly but persuasively when singers (and, crucially, text) enter.


All in all a very moving and engaging performance from one of the newest and slickest ensembles on the scene.

Gramophone, Edward Breen

Angel confronts listener with palette of subtle colors *****

[...] The inclusion of Angels is a hit.

What I find special about the latest recording is that the voices of Angel and soprano Shira Patchornik blend so fantastically. These are truly two souls one thought. Vocal lines are perfectly in sync and connect seamlessly. The same is true for trills and other embellishments. The climax? The magisterial, intensely sung finale with that beautiful fugue.

And then there is the passionate playing of the baroque orchestra PRJCT Amsterdam, founded by Engeltjes not so long ago (what a name!). The members draw an authentic instrumental frame that leaves no wish unfulfilled. The conducting men-alt let them make music in a delightful tempo choice.

The real secret of this Stabat Mater release is undoubtedly the palette of subtle colors with which Engeltjes confronts the listener. As mentioned above, he finds a dream partner in the Israeli soprano Patchornik. Her lyrical soprano shimmers in emotional as well as hopeful sounds.
Maarten Engeltjes himself takes the psalm Nisi Dominus ("If the Lord does not build the house") by Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) for his account. Once again, it delivers a magnificent performance. The singer sings with authority, for example in the intense Cum dederit ("As He them").


De Gelderlander, Maarten-Jan Dongelmans

Countertenor Maarten Engeltjes sings Vivaldi's 'Nisi Dominus' mildly and smoothly ****

Mild and smooth draws Cum Dederit past, the Bond music, with pulsing violins and plucked luster. In Pergolesi's Stabat Mater the counter is joined by Israeli soprano Shira Patchornik. Her clear flamed voice contrasts nicely with the velvet of Angel. [...[

De Volkskrant, Guido van Oorschot
March 28, 2024

Scholl and Angel sing Purcell beautifully intimate ****

"Countertenors Maarten Engeltjes and Andreas Scholl are on tour with duets by Purcell. Their voices blend brilliantly, while baroque ensemble PRJCT Amsterdam provides excellent accompaniment."


"In between, actor Frans van Deursen recited seven Shakespeare sonnets about music and love. The sonnets were well chosen and loosely but communicatively translated by Van Deursen himself."

NRC, Joep Stapel
October 7, 2021

Andreas Scholl and Maarten Engeltjes, Music & Love in Gaveau

"The trumpets sound (Sound the trumpet), the lute chirps (Ah, Heav'n! What Isn't I Hear?), the music becomes a source of comfort and joy in the air: If music be the food of love (concert title) and Music for a while. Purcell, nicknamed the British Orpheus, sets the English language to music with refinement, declining states of love in all their diversity (...). The program thus highlights the richness and variety of the composer's body of vocal works (...)" (original in French)

Olyrix, Frédérique Epin
October 17, 2021

Andreas Scholl reunites with Purcell and enchants Gaveau ****

"The orchestra of twelve musicians sounds with fullness and faithfully follows the aesthetic proposal of its charismatic leader Josef Zák: this is a very beautiful violin, dense, embodied and whose ornamental proposals are always solidly conducted. Cello and double bass provide a powerful and articulate support, particularly sensitive."


"Maarten Engeltjes enjoys a clear voice with a very even color throughout his range, a quality that is appreciated in the virtuoso duets of "Sound the trumpet" and "Ah heav'n! What is't I hear."


"While keeping an exceptional control of the breath, the singer sculpts the word and plunges into the poetic material, finds a new flexibility in the garlands of eighth notes of "Music for a while", presents with disarming sincerity the beautiful poem of an "Evening Hymn "almost hypnotic. In great vocal form, the German countertenor revives the discourse art cultivated by Alfred Deller while adding a variety of colors very noticeable in the acoustics of the Salle Gaveau. After a cover of the hit "Sound the Trumpet", the duo will offer a moving transcription of the traditional Scottish "Annie Laurie" whose totally assumed kitsch (pizz bass, violin duo in traditional style) undoubtedly equals the iconic version of Deanna Durbin!"

BachTrack, Philippe Ramin
October 15, 2021

The Poet and the Musician

"But it is undoubtedly in the duets that the tandem excels, the complementarity of the voices being a part of musical magic. From the introductory tête-à-tête, "Here The Deities", we immediately understand that between these two voices the affinities are more than friendly, they are elective. This will eloquently confirm the jubilant "Sound The Trumpet" given as a reminder. Whether they confuse their tessitura as in "O Dive Custos Auriacae Domus" or whether they respond from one solo to the other as in "No, resistance is but vain", they go well beyond a formal association of an evening. They marvelously inhabit the voluptuous waves of "Fairest Isle" as well as the languid dialogue of "Ah heav'n! What is't I hear "from one of Purcell's Masters, John Blow. The pleasure of hearing these two voices as a duet is such that the public asks for more and is then exhilarated, the two artists offering the audience as a final gift a Scottish Song "Annie Laurie" to close the evening."

"The program also gives pride of place to music, the Ensemble PRJCT Amsterdam is much more than a simple accompanist, it is a real breath. Under the direction of Maarten Engeltjes, the ensemble never gives in to the sometimes artificial enthusiasms into which more than one conductor can be drawn in this treacherously flattering repertoire. The roundness and flexibility of the sounds allow us to hear again and rediscover the music of Purcell with this characteristic blend of softness and firmness, rigor and flexibility, thus reminding us that he was one of the greatest melodists of his time."

ForumOpéra, Brigitte Maroillat
October 15, 2021

Countertenors Engeltjes and Scholl sing about the healing effects of music ****

"(...) It was a delight to hear both voices virtuosically swirling around each other in arias such as No, resistance is but vain and the euphoric Sound the trumpet. (...) Another primal force that passed in review during the program was winter in Purcell's exceptionally modern sounding Cold Song from King Arthur, sung very expressively by Engeltjes. With firm jolts and jabs he made the cutting freezing cold almost tangible and caused the listener a very appropriate physiological reaction: goosebumps."

Trouw, Myrthe Meester
October 12, 2021

Japanese music review site 'Mikiki' about the album 'Nicht mehr hier'

"The smoothing sound of the ensemble in Buxtehude's "Klaglied" brings you from reality to the world of heavens and harmony." "The sensitive and powerful voice like a taut thread, and the free expressiveness are the most appealing features of the modern countertenor." "Listeners will surely find peace in the fulfilling and gentle sound of the ensemble."

music review site Mikiki
July 15, 2020

Nicht mehr hier - Music by JS Bach, D Buxtehude and JC Bach

"The angelic, ethereal sound of the countertenor voice is soothing, almost comforting, and that is important when it is about the subject of death." "Just like on his first Bach recording, Maarten Engeltjes is accompanied by the soft and hovering sounds of the baroque orchestra PRJCT Amsterdam."

HR2 Kultur podcast
July 23, 2020

Das Opernglas - Nicht mehr hier

The flawless purity of his countertenor comes into his own in a unique way in the cantata "Ich habe genug" (BWV 82) that follows the "Klagelied" from Dietrich Buxtehude. [Engels] expresses the feeling of balsamic quietude and blissful timelessness like no other.

Das Opernglas, J. Gahre
July 2020

Silent rhetoric around the end of life

"... Beneath his calm, ripple-free legato, you feel the restrained passion, while your ear registers the carefully measured ornamentation and the pinpoint pianissimo in the higher regions. (...) Somehow PRJCT Amsterdam also places the sometimes exuberant groove under heartfelt lyrics like 'Ich freue mich auf meinen Tod' and 'Mir ekelt mehr zu leben' in a new light: not only is the I-figure at peace with the end of life, he or she even reaches for the afterlife. ..."

Nederlands Dagblad, Margaretha Coornstra
May 29, 2020

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With the most beautiful baroque music, imaginative programming and the greatest baroque talents, Maarten Engeltjes & PRJCT Amsterdam give concerts you won't soon forget.
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