Fiction.
BalletBoyz, Saddlers Wells 04/16

G.J. Dowler, Classical Source, 21/4/16

Ben Foskett’s score is tremendous, confident, bold and utterly engaging, providing a powerful sound world for the scenic concept.

Fiction.
BalletBoyz, Saddlers Wells 04/16

Clement Crisp, Financial Times, 21/4/16

The succeeding Fiction - by Javier de Frutos, who is from Venezuela - is a dazzling capriccio, shown with insouciant physicality by the dancers, and by the musicians, who acquitted themselves admirably in a firecracker of a score by Ben Foskett, to whom hats off. The springboard is the supposed death of de Frutos, whose broadcast obituary we hear in manic rehearsal. Then, the reactions of the men as they use a rehearsal barre as prop for their bewilderment and sense of loss, in terms athletic, emotionally vivid, and done with buoyant skill, dance racing over the stage like a strong incoming tide.

The piece is cunning in its interplay of emotion, a kind-of-narrative, and bravura choreography which explores the barre as support and excuse for dance. The Boyz deploy eel-like curvings and within-an-inch-of-your-life gymnastic flamboyancies over and around the barre, with a nonchalant air. Ben Foskett's score nurtures and inspires choreography and dancers.

De Frutos has a witty way with this theme of self-examination and a quizzical attitude that make intriguing sense, and his dancers respond with fizzing physical resource. They look tremendous. They are tremendous. The whispers of emotion, the tiny physical dramas that engage them, add savour to a daring, skilled creation.

Fiction.
BalletBoyz, Saddlers Wells 04/16

Hanna Weibye, the arts desk, 22/4/16

... It's no less of an aural feast, with competing voiceovers reading de Frutos's obituary, an original score by Ben Foskett, and snatches of Donna Summer's belting soul-disco anthem Last Dance. Foskett's score is a cracker, achieving a range of moods from elegiac to caperish all in a jazzy minor key that, like the piece as a whole, hovers just the right distance from sentimentality.

Dinosaur, NMC D195
Various pieces, 2014

Richard Whitehouse, Gramophone, 2014

As Christopher Austin points out, an assessment of Ben Foskett's composing this past decade needs to take into account his ballet output, as well as orchestrations for film and television. Even so, this 'portrait' disc makes for a viable overview of a period during which his music has evolved in distinctive though unexpected ways. Certainly Five Night Pieces (2001) feels indebted to post-war modernism in harmonic density and fragmented yet keenly controlled momentum. With Hornet II (2004), however, the emphasis is already shifting towards a more concrete and dramatic presentation of ideas - the two movements pursuing a subtly contrasted approach to the relationship of clarinet and ensemble as amounts to a satisfying whole despite (or because of?) its inherent duality. The likely culmination of this phase, the Proms commission From Trumpet (2009), unfolds as a free passacaglia whose textures become more stratified and tangibly melodic as the piece opens out expressively before its almost impatient ending.

On From Four (2011) marked the 400th anniversary of Hatfield House and derives its inspiration through a distinctly modern take on the 'broken consort', juxtaposing its elegiac and energetic passages so as to bring about a more impulsive continuation. Gesture and line are the salient aspects of Dinosaur (2012), a solo flute piece whose ancestry in Debussy and Varèse does not impede an individual persona from emerging over three sections of mounting animation and technical panache. Finally, Cinq Chansons à Hurle-Vent (2012) sets poems by Laure Salama in which the principal characters of Wuthering Heights - Emily Brontë as well as Cathy and Heathcliff - meet in a song-cycle whose intertwining soprano and soprano saxophone make a virtue of their registral similarity, resulting in music as poised as it is plangent. The excellence of the performances enhances a disc that leaves one fascinated as to where Foskett is headed next.

Dinosaur, NMC D195
Various pieces, 2014

Fiona Maddocks, Guardian, 22/7/2014

British composer Ben Foskett writes music of variety and discipline - a play of microtones and modal harmonies, mechanistic structures and fluid melodic motifs. In this disc of works spanning the past decade, Richard Uttley is persuasive in Five Night Pieces (2002), short piano works at once compressed and violent. Those elements are present, too, on a larger scale in the orchestral piece From Trumpet. In Hornet II, Mark van de Wiel, clarinet, makes edgy, exuberant battle with winds and brass. Involving various performers - Psappha, Hallé and the London Sinfonietta, under the batons of Nicholas Kok, Nicholas Collon and Geoffrey Paterson, this CD is a good way in to Foskett's sound-world.

Dinosaur, NMC D195
Various pieces, 2014

Paul Driver, Sunday Times, 8/6/2014

The title of this debut disc of music by the accomplished Foskett (b1977), British but living in France, is that of a flute piece, and signals a brave attempt to invest a melody-instrument solo with real substance. Cinq Chansons à Hurle-Vent are unusual quarter-tonal settings of specially written French poems, on the subject of Wuthering Heights, for soprano (Raphaële Kennedy) and soprano saxophone (Jean-François Becquaert). The early Five Night Pieces, for piano, played by Richard Uttley, have a lucid modernist assurance, but Foskett's 2009 Prom commission, the orchestral From Trumpet, is something else again: big, monolithic, broodingly textured, with a rich internal drama.

Bench, Anthony Brown, Leo Nicholson
Park Lane Group, Purcell Room 9/1/13
Curtis Rogers, Classical Source 9/1/13

http://www.classicalsource.com/db_control/db_concert_review.php?id=11673

Leckey, CBSO Youth Orchestra, Jac van Steen, Symphony Hall, Birmingham
Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post, 3rd November 2011

We began with the world premiere of the latest commission from Birmingham's generously empowering Feeney Trust, Ben Foskett's Leckey, paying tribute to the Turner prizewinning contemporary artist.
Well-scored for the orchestra's lavish complement, with well-dovetailed textures and clearly-defined episodes, the work was given with meticulous attention to dynamics and detail, and made a tremendous impression.

From Trumpet, BBCSO, Susanna Mälkki
BBC Proms 2009
Tim Ashley, The Guardian, Tuesday 4 August 2009

Susanna Mälkki's Prom with the BBC Symphony Orchestra opened with the premiere of From Trumpet by Ben Foskett. It is a piece of virtuosity and great charm, structured round a single rhythmic figure that accelerates and decelerates, attracting and shedding surface complexities as it goes. Three muted trumpets, swaggering and sinister, indicate changes of pace and mood before imposing a final stasis. Mälkki conducted it with grace and panache.

From Trumpet, BBCSO, Susanna Mälkki
BBC Proms 2009
Geoff Brown, The Times, August 4, 2009

With its obsessive rhythms (Beethoven 4), the finale provided another echo of the BBC commission by Foskett, a 32-year-old Brit of considerable imaginative reach and technical resources. He’s a refreshing voice, fed on the minimalists, with poetry as the dessert. At the beginning of From Trumpet the music is only glimpsed through fog. Clarity emerges with a top layer of brass, separating out the component notes of a splayed chord. Harmony and rhythm accelerate, pulled tighter and tighter until they form chugging pulses of different textures. The activity winds down to simplicity and a consonant ending. Thirteen happy minutes long, this was a bracing, constantly ear-tickling creation.

From Trumpet, BBCSO, Susanna Mälkki
BBC Proms 2009
Ivan Hewett, Telegraph, 03 Aug 2009

This Prom ran the whole gamut of orchestral sounds, from the mysterious veiled sonorities of Ben Foskett's brand-new From Trumpet through to the vast triumphal blaze of Berlioz's Te Deum ... Controlling all this was the vigorously decisive figure of the Finnish conductor Susanna Mälkki, dressed like a Presbyterian minister in severe black. She's a conductor who's made her name in contemporary music, so she's well used to bringing a forensic clarity to complex textures, and negotiating tricky changes of metre. All useful skills in Ben Foskett's oddly titled piece, which began by unfolding a sonorous chord with luxuriant slowness and then gradually changing it note by note.
The shade of the late, great Italian composer Luciano Berio hung over this seductive opening, but then the music leapt into new territory entirely, with hammered piano chords and layered patterns on timpani. Suddenly the "road movie" ambience of American minimalism was not so far away, but this too was abandoned for a new texture of chirruping sounds. Foskett has a nice way of offsetting a rigid "mechanistic" way of making a texture with surprise. And he's also good at insinuating elements of one section into another, which, on the surface, seems completely different – which is why our ear accepts the change. One got the sense of a very striking and individual sensibility, which one day will shake off its formative influences.

From Trumpet, BBCSO, Susanna Mälkki
BBC Proms 2009
Barry Millington, Evening Standard  03.08.09

Ben Foskett’s From Trumpet makes a virtue of elaborating an entire 12-minute work from a single rhythmic cell, at first so quietly as to test the concert manners of the large audience, but rising to a pounding, insistent climax.
Devoid of melodic interest, it makes its considerable impact by rhythmic, textural means.

From Trumpet, BBCSO, Susanna Mälkki
BBC Proms 2009
Colin Anderson, Classical Source, August 02, 2009

http://www.classicalsource.com/db_control/db_prom_review.php?id=7327

From Trumpet, BBCSO, Susanna Mälkki
BBC Proms 2009
Classical Iconoclast, 3 August 2009

http://classical-iconoclast.blogspot.com/2009/08/berlioz-beethoven-and-ben-foskett-prom.html

Violin Concerto, CD review, London Sinfonietta Label
Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 14 March 2008

The London Sinfonietta is selecting the works for its own-label series of premiere recordings very carefully. The latest trio, in recordings taken from the orchestra's concerts in London's Queen Elizabeth Hall, doesn't contain a single dud; Ben Foskett's remarkably assured concerto and Luke Bedford's wonderfully vivid song cycle are considerable achievements by any standards ... Foskett's 2004 Violin Concerto is a 15-minute single movement that etches the solo violin line on an ever-changing instrumental landscape, before pulling everything together in a satisfying way.

The Scarlet Pimpernel, London Children's Ballet, Peacock Theatre
AN Wilson, Evening Standard, May 2006

Ben Foskett's music was fantastic. The whole ballet was funny, moving, brilliantly paced...

The Scarlet Pimpernel, London Children's Ballet, Peacock Theatre
Graham Watts, Ballet.co, May 2006

There is very little that is childish about the London Children’s Ballet – it is an impressively grown-up company with a developing maturity that is very evident from year to year...Ben Foskett’s original score was a sympathetic and expressive setting for story-telling dance, providing a descriptive and melodic accompaniment to the choreography. It had a strong, thematic approach, giving vital continuity across a fragmented narrative of 14 scenes. In particular, Foskett’s music created clearly identifiable themes to delineate the two principal characters (Sir Percy - the Pimpernel - and his wife, Marguerite). Given the number of characters on stage, this was essential...

Violin Concerto, Young Brits: BBC invitation concert, London Sinfonietta / Gould, Kok
LSO St. Lukes

Andrew Clements, The Guardian, Saturday January 29, 2005

The Sinfonietta had played Ben Foskett's single-movement Violin Concerto before, and, with Clio Gould again the soloist, its well-sustained trajectory seemed just as impressive on second hearing.

Violin Concerto, Young Brits: BBC invitation concert, London Sinfonietta / Gould, Kok
LSO St. Lukes
John Allison, The Times, 31/1/05

...and the Sinfonietta was right to revisit Ben Foskett’s assured Violin Concerto, in which Clio Gould set up a concentrated dialogue with the orchestra.

Trying to see more, John Barker, Tim Sidford, Kirckman Concert Society Young Artists
Purcell Room, London
Stephen Pritchard, The Observer, Sunday September 26, 2004

The ink was barely dry on Ben Foskett's Trying to see More before it received its world premiere last week - indeed, it was so new he only thought of the title after the programme had gone to press.
Music this fresh fairly leaps off the page and in the hands of saxophonist John Barker and pianist Timothy Sidford, it achieved astonishing cohesion; rather more than the composer intended, judging from his programme notes. He planned a piece made of two ideas which play off each other, attempting compromise until breaking apart. Barker and Sidford work so seamlessly together that this tension was never really apparent. Instead, we heard an immensely enjoyable piece of intense rhythmic vitality and character.

Violin Concerto, London Sinfonietta / Gould, Knussen, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London
By Keith Potter, Independent, 13 April 2004

Still, when they produce such a stimulating world premiere as that of Ben Foskett's Violin Concerto - performed with Clio Gould as soloist - then their value is quite obvious. Like so many of the composers the Sinfonietta plays these days, Foskett, who is 27 this year, has studied with Simon Bainbridge. His concerto is the result of another laudable side of the ensemble's activities, the Blue Touch Paper project, which allows works to be written under the guidance of established figures such as the Finnish composer Magnus Lindberg.

Foskett insisted, in a pre-concert talk, that he selected the violin as he knew less about stringed instruments and was thus taking on more of a challenge. And the concerto's opening gives the impression that we might be in for another hand-me-down response to Alban Berg's Violin Concerto, which has stalked many composers for more than 60 years.

But as the work develops, Foskett soon makes it clear that he knows exactly what he is doing. In the first half, a searing solo line of considerable intensity - magnificently etched by Gould - soars and dips above a simple but telling chordal accompaniment. It emphasises the lower registers in this ensemble of seventeen players, from which violins are banished. In the second half, the relationship between soloist and ensemble becomes more complex, even confrontational, and the music moves through a series of emotions. The line of tension is expertly maintained, right through to the terrifying climax and the final plunge into stillness. The reception from this audience of musical diehards was unusually warm.

Violin Concerto, London Sinfonietta / Gould, Knussen, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London
David Murray, Financial Times, Tuesday 6th April, 2004

Gould found forceful eloquence in the domineering solo role of Foskett's Concerto. The orchestral accompaniment is largely derived from it, and much of that consists in sharp, abrasive punctuation. With "gathering momentum and intensity", as promised, this single 17-minute movement made a confident, formidable impression: slightly raw, full of promise.

Violin Concerto, London Sinfonietta / Gould Knussen, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London
John Allison, The Times, 6th April, 2004

Working in collaboration, too, with the soloist and dedicatee, Clio Gould, Foskett has come up with a concentrated score that never loses direction, moving from stream of consciousness to something tightly argued.
It begins with the violin descending into a dark landscape. With very little break for the soloist, the music gathers intensity and momentum, building up ferociously before dissolving into sustained stillness and – a Lindberg influence? – an intense chorale.

Violin Concerto, London Sinfonietta / Gould, Knussen, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London
Andrew Clements, The Guardian, Monday April 5, 2004

Ben Foskett's Violin Concerto is one of the first products of the Sinfonietta's Blue Touch Paper scheme, in which young composers are guided by established figures to a produce a work for the Sinfonietta. Foskett's single-movement concerto clothes a solo violin line (commandingly played by Clio Gould) in increasingly luminous and independent instrumental harmonies; the ideas are always striking, and the way the music exploits the changing relationship between the soloist and the ensemble is compelling.

Wind Quintet, Zephyr Ensemble of London, Park Lane Group Young Artists Concert, Purcell Room, London
Tom Service, Guardian, 13 January 2003

Ben Foskett's Wind Quintet was more ambitious in structure, with two short movements preceding an extended finale. The contrast between the acerbic first movement and the slow, undulating chords of the second was the catalyst for the energy of the third.

State Of The Nation/London Sinfonietta, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London
Keith Potter, Independant, 2 May 2002

I also enjoyed Ben Foskett's "Es gibt einige hohe Wellen", a splendidly brutal exercise in reckless note- and chord-throwing.

Hornet, Andrew Mason, Park Lane Group Young Artists Concert, Purcell Room, London
Keith Potter, Independant, 17 January 2002

Mason, a dynamic player, made the stronger impression; he created a powerful impact immediately with Ben Foskett's new Hornet.