The Caliban Quartet is surprising audiences everywhere with their unique combination of good humour, eclectic programming and virtuosic playing. Though bassoonists love this group, other listeners are delighted with the variety and exuberance they hear. Constantly on the prowl for unusual and exciting music, Caliban performs original compositions and their own arrangements of everything from Renaissance religious music to world music, jazz, and tangos.
The Quartet is made up of four of Canada's leading bassoonists from the Toronto and Vancouver Symphony Orchestras.
Here are some quotes from nice folks who liked BassOOnatics!:
"I was so delighted I listened to all 71 minutes and 12 seconds in one go. [The Calibanians] are crack players.... Their ensemble and intonation are most impressive.... If I may liken sound quality to food, the Caliban's dark, chocolaty, nutty texture is a guaranteed stress chaser."
-- David Lasker in The Globe and Mail, April 9, 1998
"Virtuoso and expressive playing....Bassoonists, of course, will love this disc, but anyone else with an ear for the offbeat will also enjoy this combination of high spirits and highly expert playing."
-- Scott Paterson in "Classical Music Magazine" Fall, 1998
"This is simply wonderful music, ranging from jazzy to comical to awesome. It is also rather dangerous and subversive in as much as it may just bring back the idea that excellent musicianship should, theoretically, play an important role in music."
-- Rob Campbell in "What's on Queen", July 10, 1998
"That's the way I like my bassoons.... A great deal of fun!"
-- Jurgen Gothe, DiscDrive, CBC Radio, December 3, 1997
"The playing is superb and light-hearted at the same time, with intelligent programming and well-crafted arrangements."
-- The Double Reed, Journal of the International Double Reed Society, Vol.21, No.1, 1998
"I enjoyed this disc... There's a lot of fun here. The light, entertaining tone is all through the liner notes, and you can hear it through the CD.... It's a nice choice of material, well-arranged, well-played, and well-recorded. It gets the full 5 stars."
-- Rick Phillips, Sound Advice, CBC Radio, November 30, 1997
"Very elegant.... The concert stood out for engaging programming and superlative playing... The interpretations were entirely convincing."
-- Elissa Poole in The Globe and Mail, February 10, 1997
"...played with verve and versatility.... Engaging introductions to the pieces kept the audience primed for entertainment. But the first-rate technique, musicality and inventive programming... kept the chuckles between numbers and the musical expectations on a higher plane."
-- Elissa Poole, The Globe and Mail, June 6, 1995
"So that's what a bassoon sounds like!"
-- James Wallenberg, Violinist, Toronto Symphony Orchestra
"There have been other bassoon quartets and ensembles, but I've never heard one that sounds as fine as the Caliban. Excellent intonation, brilliant technique, a variety of repertoire, lots of expression, all in all a first-rate group... I'm truly impressed."
-- Bernard Garfield, Principal Bassoon, The Philadelphia Orchestra
"The most uplifting and exciting music for bassoons I have ever heard."
--Michael McCraw, Principal Bassoon, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra
"You guys are terrific. It is super playing, and makes even this minor work sound great. Thank you."
-- John Corigliano, American composer