"It is a sweat-producing listening experience - it throws you!…And in the end, the audience is beside itself cheering and applauding."
(Tim Schleiber: Die Stuttgarter Zeitung, 9 Aug 2006)
"Space and time merge into a revolving state between past and present...creates a picturesque ambiance for these events….The curtain falls abruptly on a flabbergasted audience. The applause…picks up strength, becoming genuinely enthusiastic."
(Petra Haiderer: Der Standard, 9 Aug 2006)
‘[Debussy] sketched a good deal of fascinating music, and out of this material the musicologist Robert Orledge has put together a performable work that, if not entirely convincing as narrative, is utterly gripping as musical psycho-drama….He has done a wonderful job in working the Usher-like debris into an integrated score that mostly sounds wonderfully like refined later Debussy. Much of the power of what this great composer must have been striving for comes across.’
(Stephen Walsh: the arts desk.com, 21 June 2014)
‘What [Gordon] Getty’s score [Usher House] lacks becomes apparent in the first minute of the Debussy. Drawn from fragmentary sketches, and expertly stitched together by Orledge, an underlying tension pulses through the music.’
(Peter Reynolds: Company Focus Welsh National Opera)
‘Usher (Robert Hayward) and the friend (William Dazeley) are able to create a stronger rapport in this piece…which is all down to the fabulous score that helps the actors to be more theatrical and watchable than Getty’s interpretation’.
(Lauren Anders: the public reviews)
‘The orchestral textures were more filled out, to give a more authentically Debussian impression, rather than the more threadbare sound in the [Juan] Allende-Blin version ... eminently stage-worthy…It deserves to be revived.’
(Paul Corfield Godfrey: Seen and Heard International, 16 June 2014)
‘Just the opening few moments of the Debussy Usher are enough to conjure a very different and much more involving world….The effect is truly seamless; as conducted by Lawrence Foster, the 45-minute score sounds like late Debussy - there are echoes of the orchestral Images, especially ‘Gigues’, and even of ‘Jeux’ - and the prevailing mood of a doom-laden house is recognisably similar to that of ‘Pelleas et Melisande’. ‘ Andrew Clements (The Guardian, 16 June 2014)
‘The blur and glow and gleam of the Debussy is of another order, creeping under one’s skin and liberating Lawrence Foster, the conductor, and his orchestra.’
(Anna Picard: The Times, 17 June 2014)
‘Robert Orledge has saved the day with a reconstruction and orchestration of what Debussy left behind. Listening to it, you would think that no one else has handled this piece. It is so very Debussy. In fact, [Getty’s] ‘Usher House’ seems like the unfinished opera with its abrupt ending…The atmosphere [Orledge] creates is a hothouse of mood, tensions and pain. Robert Hayward as Roderick unravels a slow, deeply tormented person who can’t bear the burden of the house anymore.’
(The Sprout, 18 June 2014)
‘The Debussy fragments - realised by Robert Orledge - showed starkly what was missing. There really was a sense of menace and uncertainty from the off, the shadowy Allemonde of his ‘Pelleas et Melisande’, but the House of Usher is an altogether more menacing environment and this was apparent straightaway. The characters came across as more overtly nervy, neurotic and desperate. ‘
(Alexander Campbell: )
‘Though virtually half the music is Orledge, you wouldn’t know it, so relentlessly authentic and beautifully atmospheric is the effect. Odd, perhaps, to find the throwaway ending of Debussy’s ballet Jeux suddenly cropping up – but rather delightful.’
(Paul Driver, The Sunday Times, 22 June 2014)
"In the Cardiff strand of the Paris City of Light Festival , this concert is the sure-fire highlight of the cultural year so far...Debussy's No-ja-li ou Le Palais du Silence was the big event. With a gamelan orchestra, chorus and narrator, this is one lavish ballet...filled with barbarism, a perfumed eroticism and even a joyous pride. By completing this work, Robert Orledge has done the music world a big favour.
(The Sprout, 25 April 2015)
'The greater flurry of excitement came with [Akiko] Suwanai's other performance: by way of hommage to Dutilleux and his reverence for Debussy, the latter's Nocturne for solo violin and orchestra, immaculately completed by ... Robert Orledge, was given a UK Premiere. Its suggestion of an awakening and withdrawing from a liminal horizon into an altogether more playful, carefree lightness was captivating and tantalising.'
(Rian Evans, The Guardian, 24 January 2016)
'Thomas Søndergård and Akiko Suwanai articulated a subtle sense of pulse throughout Debussy's Nocturne for Violin and Orchestra, one of many works started and abandoned by Dutilleux's radical predecessor. We can thank Robert Orledge for so adroitly gathering the sketches together and fashioning them into a completed work, in this as in many other cases (most substantially, Debussy's unfinished opera on Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher). Here there was langour and bitter sweetness of expression as might be expected, but also open textures and playful swerves that cleansed the palate after the rich Dutilluex.'
(Steph Power, Wales Arts Review, 25 January 2016)
"A brilliant musicologist...An amazing guy. A fantastic orchestrator and a really, really good composer... As there was so little material to go on, I wish I could say it was a scam. But I absolutely adore it. A jolly, jolly piece...Debussy couldn't get a better outing."
Jeremy Sams reviewing the PAN CLASSICS CD 10342 of 'Le Diable dans le Beffroi'.
(Summer Record Review. BBC 3, 20 August 2016)
Featured Reviews Musicals
"The music score of 'Diamond' is complex, not your conventional chorus and verse approach. The composer Robert Orledge skillfully tells the story through verse and the ensemble piece ‘Some kind of paradise’ just before the end is pure genius. The tunes are there but as with Sondheim you have to concentrate and listen carefully."
(James Ledward: Gscene, 5 June 2013)