12 September 2016
Although it has only just been released, our latest recording, Beethoven & Mendelssohn String Quartets, has already picked up a couple of excellent reviews in the Press. First was Fiona Maddocks, awarding the disc 4 stars in The Observer, who writes "The playing is fresh and pliable, each work illuminating the other.". She adds "String quartets stand out for different reasons, from quality of sound... to adventurous repertoire... to versatility, among whom the Sacconi Quartet... are front-runners."
Guy Weatherall, writing in September's Classical Music Magazine was similarly enthusiastic, awarding the CD 5 Stars and praising the "Refreshing, committed performances... these young players relish the drama herein.". He singles out the Op. 132 recording, describing it as "...earthy and bold, although the slow movement is rapt and totally unsentimental. It is a new recording and sounds marvellous..."
25 August 2016
In his article we explore how this has been an opportunity to break boundaries, and discuss some of the recent projects, such as Heartfelt and Beethoven in the Dark, which have provided us with new ways in which to connect to our audiences.
19 July 2016
Our new Jonathan Dove commission In Damascus has picked up excellent reviews in both the Guardian and the FT, following its London premiere at our Kings Place birthday concert last week. The Guardian awarded the concert five stars, describing it as 'unusual and timely', with libretto that is 'both simple and direct, without any hint of rhetoric or sensation'. Mark Padmore was praised for his 'immaculate artistry', and the Guardian concluded that 'The overall impact of the work and its performance was profound, an unforgettable example of the power of art to convey something terrible through an expression that is paradoxically in itself beautiful'.
The FT review echoed the same praise: 'As ever, Dove writes well for the voice and tenor Mark Padmore was very expressive in his music, the many high-lying lines floated in a head voice reminiscent of Britten’s writing for Peter Pears. For the Sacconi Quartet this was an anniversary celebrated in some style.'
6 June 2016
Following the world premiere of Jonathan Dove’s In Damascus, given by the Sacconis and Mark Padmore in Folkestone on 20th May 2016, the London premiere will be at the quartet’s fifteenth birthday concert at Kings Place on 13th July 2016.
Don’t miss the chance to hear this evocative and thought-provoking work in the flesh.
The Sacconis and Mark will also perform In Damascus in Aldeburgh on 12th July and then record the piece for Signum Records, to be released in 2017.
The Quartet wish wholeheartedly to thank the Michael Cuddigan Trust, the Vernon Ellis Foundation and everyone who supported and contributed to this project, and we look forward to seeing you at Kings Place on 13th July.
16 May 2016
The Sacconis will be appearing on BBC R3's 'In Tune' programme tomorrow, Tuesday 17th May, with Suzy Klein. We will be discussing our upcoming Festival in Folkestone, and in particular our new commission, 'In Damascus', written for us by Jonathan Dove and sung by Mark Padmore, which receives its World Premiere at Folkestone on Friday 20th May.
The programme starts at 4:30, with the Sacconis appearing at 5:30. The programme will subsequently will be available on BBC iPlayer for one month. Please tune in to us tomorrow!
4 May 2016
We have been out and about in Folkestone visiting St Eanswythe’s Primary School, one of the schools we’ve been to many times and have got to know very well. We love delivering chamber music workshops to the children here and they seemed to enjoy it too! An article about our outreach work will be published in Music Teacher Magazine soon, so watch out for that! We are doing at least seven school workshops in our Festival Outreach Programme this year and have been generously funded by the CAVATINA Chamber Music Trust, Teacher Music Magazine and the Kent Community Foundation’s Overstone Fund.
We are all ready and set for the Festival, and very excited about all our guest artists, the exciting programme, and of course the new commission from Jonathan Dove that we will be performing with Mark Padmore on the Friday evening. Plus the Viola Invasion on Sunday afternoon with Roger Chase promises to be a fantastic and unique event! We’re looking forward to welcoming back amazing pianist Charles Owen and chilling out with Mexican guitarist Morgan Szymanski at our late-night concert. Full programme details can be found on our Festival and to book your tickets visit the Quarterhouse website.
14 March 2016
This Spring, the Sacconis are filling up their already busy lives with some additional musical projects.
First up, Robin will be playing down in Cornwall as part of the famous St Endellion Easter Festival. He will be playing Schubert's 'Trout' quintet, alongside the likes of the pianist Viv McLean, on Easter Sunday, 27th March, in the Church of St Endelienta.
The following weekend, Hannah is part of a two day 'mini tour' with the Zoffany Ensemble, who will be playing a programme of Schubert String Trio, Mendelssohn String Quintet and Brahms String Sextet. Their first concert is on Friday, 1st April, at St Giles’ Church, Medbourne, Leicestershire, with the second at 7.30 on Saturday, 2nd April at Kirkbymoorside Memorial Hall, N.Yorks.
Next, Cara will be joining the pianist and musical Director Libby Burgess at the New Paths Music Festival, held in the beautiful Yorkshire town of Beverley. She will be joined there by other well-known chamber musicians and singers, including the violinist Jamie Campbell, Soprano Mary Bevan and Baritone Marcus Farnsworth. The event is spread across four days, from Thursday 7th April to Sunday 10th, with concerts taking place in venues across Beverley, including in its exquisite 13th-century Minster.
The same weekend, Ben is off up to Scotland to take part in the Kinnordy Music Festival directed by the pianist Daniel Tong and cellist Robin Michael, where he will be joined by a small group of Chamber musicians to perform works by the likes of Brahms, Schumann and Debussy. The Festival will be held in the magnificent Kinnordy House, just north of Dundee.
Finally, Hannah and Cara will be joining up, together with other musicians, for a special day put on by the charity Live Music Now, celebrating the life and Music of Yehudi Menuhin. The celebration will be at Kings Place on Sunday 17th April, with the concert itself taking place at 11:30 in the main hall.
21 January 2016
The 2016 Sacconi Festival programme is now finalised, and this year we have put together a programme using the many permutations of chamber music ensembles. Quartets feature heavily of course, but we also have duets, quintets, sextets, an octet and indeed a triple quartet! Not to mention chamber orchestra works and a concerto no less.
Our big news is of course the World Premiere of a brand new work for tenor and string quartet by Jonathan Dove, commissioned by the Sacconis and tenor Mark Padmore. Jonathan Dove’s new work In Damascus is a cantata, setting words by the Syrian poet Ali Safar, who with piercing eloquence and deep humanity distills the harrowing experiences of daily life in a war-torn country. Mark and the Sacconis will be performing this major new work on the Friday evening concert at the Festival this year.
Other Festival guests include guitarist Morgan Szymanski, and Charles Owen who returns to perform Jonathan Dove’s Piano Quintet. Plus we have a rare treat for you with our Viola Invasion! Ten violists, including Roger Chase, Yuko Inoue, Garfield Jackson, Douglas Paterson, Andriy Viytovych and of course our very own Robin Ashwell will perform an English programme of works dedicated to the great violist Lionel Tertis.
UPDATE: The Box Office is now open! Full details can be found at the Quarterhouse website.
11 December 2015
This January, Ben will be playing in the Wye Valley Chamber Music January Festival, where he will be joined by many other well known musicians. The Festival was established in 2000 to bring world-class chamber music to beautiful and intimate venues up and down the Wye Valley, and continues to attract musicians of the highest calibre.
The Festival runs over a full week, from Saturday 9th to Sunday 17th January at venues across the Wye Valley. Full details can be found at the Festival website. There will also be a preview concert in London on Thursday 7th January - full details can be found here.
9 November 2015
After their debut at The Sacconi Festival last May, Hannah, Pierre and John Paul Ekins (piano), will take to the stage at Conway Hall to perform Tchaikovsky’s Piano Trio in A minor. This concert is followed by an informal Q&A which will be conducted by Kimon Daltas, editor of Classical Music magazine.
Rhinegold LIVE is a concert series which aims to offer a unique and informal take on the classical recital experience. Concerts are free to attend and include a free glass of wine beforehand. Full details of this performance, as well as other concerts in the series, can be found at the Rhinegold LIVE site.
4 October 2015
The Sacconi's latest newsletter is now out, full of details about what they're doing this Autumn, as well as looking back over their busy Summer. First up is their next concert, which is in London, at Eaton Square on Thursday 8th October. There is also news of their upcoming week of concerts in Ischia as part of the Kirker Holidays Ischia Music Festival, as well as their other Autumn concerts back in the UK.
The newsletter also includes a personal perspective from Hannah of their two major Summer projects: 'Heartfelt' and 'Beethoven in the dark', both of which attracted very favourable reviews (see below). It also includes a piece on what Cara has spent her Summer doing!
This and the previous newsletters can all be found on the 'Contact' page on the Sacconi's website
2 September 2015
This autumn, Cara will be performing in a mini tour, as part of the 'Concerts in the West' initiative, which aims to bring a broad spectrum of classical and baroque music to audiences in the West of England. She will be playing alongside other top-class musicians as part of Ensemble Perpetuo, an ensemble which comprises, along with Cara; James Turnbull (oboe), Fenella Humphreys (violin) and Andrew Berridge (viola, and Cara's brother!).
Full details of the overall tour can be found at the Concerts in the West website.
The dates and venues for the tour are as follows:
• Thursday 8th October at 7.30 pm at Exeter Phoenix
• Friday 9th October at 11:00 am at Bridport Arts Centre
• Friday 9th October 8:00 pm at Ilminster Arts Centre
• Saturday 10th October at 7:30 pm at The Hub, Lyme Regis
Do come along if you can, and welcome Cara back!
4 August 2015
The Sacconis have been on their travels again, performing in not one but two ground-breaking concerts as part of the ever-innovative Bristol Proms. First up was 'Beethoven in the dark', a performance of Beethoven's iconic Op. 131 quartet, played, entirely from memory, in almost complete darkness. This was a profound and deeply moving piece, with the near-darkness of the theatre allowing a closer connection with Beethoven's world. Next came another outing for the Quartet's 'Heartfelt', where robotic hearts provide the audience with another intimate connection with the quartet and Beethoven's music, and which has proved to be justifiably popular at both Spitalfields and Lichfield Festivals.
Both performances have attracted considerable attention in the press, with a 4-star review in the Independent describing 'Heartfelt' as "a powerful way to experience the visceral physicality of Beethoven’s profound thanksgiving". The performance was also picked up by the BBC 'Points West' programme, who filmed a short piece of the quartet in rehearsal. Elsewhere, they featured in Bristol247's preview of the Bristol Proms, as well as picking up excellent reviews for 'Beethoven in the dark', which was variously described as "breathtakingly good and deserving of the prolonged applause" (guide2bristol) and "the performance acquired an ethereal dimension, taking us by free association into Beethoven’s black world of deafness. These were transcendent moments" (slippeddisc).