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).
23 July 2015
The Sacconis have been in the news again, attracting considerable praise for their Scandinavian concert at the Purcell Room from one particular member of the audience; no less than the President of the British Sibelius Society, Edward Clark.
He opens his review with "This performance by the Sacconi Quartet of Sibelius's 'Voces intimae' was the finest I have ever heard"; high praise for the performance that sets the tone for the rest of this thoughtful and comprehensive review.
He pays particular attention to the Sacconis' performance of Sibelius's great work, 'Voces Intimae', enthusing that "this was a truly magisterial, full-blooded and deeply thoughtful view (of) a masterpiece" and how the chords over which Sibelius wrote 'Voces intimae', were played with "spellbinding delicacy".
He concludes the review by saying "near-perfection was achieved".
13 July 2015
The Sacconis' recent Residency at the Lichfield Festival has attracted critical acclaim from several sources, and has received rave reviews in several newspapers, including national recognition in both the Guardian and the Observer.
The first came from Richard Bratby of the Birmingham Post, whose review of 'The Juliet Letters' with Jon Boden enthused that the performance “...requires neither Costello nor the Brodskys in order to make a powerful impact” and that “ this music speak(s) more directly – more passionately – than ever”. He concludes the piece by acclaiming it as “..chamber music of a high order”.
More praise came from Stephen Pritchard, writing in both the Guardian and Observer over the weekend, whose review of the Sacconis' Scandinavian concert received a glowing 4 star review. He praised their “tremendous control” and enthused about “the particularly fine playing from second violinist Hannah Dawson”.
His conclusion needs no further comment: “...it was in Sibelius’s Intimate Voices quartet that the Sacconis really impressed. The calm stillness of the central adagio will linger in the memory for a long time. It was a triumphant performance...”
16 June 2015
The Sacconis have garnered considerable attention for 'Heartfelt', their latest innovative collaboration, premiered as part of the Spitalfields music festival. In particular, the performance was picked up by Tom Service, who featured it both on his recent BBC R3 'Music Matters' programme and on his Guardian blog.
As has been advertised here previously, the performance set out to privide an extra dimension to the already profound experience of Beethoven's Op. 132, through interactive lighting and an interactive heart rate monitor. The monitor, a beautifully crafted combination of wood and advanced electronics and described as a 'chestahedron', gave a continuous link to the heart rate of one of the Sacconis, beating in time with the players heart.
Surprisingly perhaps, the heart rates don't follow the tempo of the music. As Hannah says during 'Music Matters', 'It is also maybe simplistic to imagine that always when we're playing slow music that out hearts are going to be correlating in a slow fashion. I think the central movement is a moment of repose, a moment of calm; but also a moment where maybe life and death make sense as well, and so it's maybe the most heightened bit emotionally'.
13 May 2015
The Sacconis eagerly awaited appearance on Radio 3's 'In Tune' programme can now be found on BBC iPlayer with the quartet playing excerpts from Dove: Out of Time - quartet for strings at 5 and 55 minutes, as well as Beethoven Op. 132 at 14 minutes and Sibelius: Op.56 (Voces intimae) at 48 minutes. The programme will be available on BBC iPlayer for a further 28 days.
As an added bonus, the Sacconis performance of the first movement of Jonathan Dove's 'Out of time' has been selected for BBC Radio 3's 'Performing Miracles', which is described as 'the Best of Radio 3 – a top performance from the latest broadcasts' and is now one of a select group chosen for this showcase. A link to the excerpt can be found here, and again is available for a further 28 days.
11 May 2015
This Tuesday, 12th May, the Sacconis are appearing with Sean Rafferty on BBC Radio 3's 'In Tune' programme from 4:30pm, where they will be playing excerpts from Dove, Sibelius and Beethoven.
Also on the programme, they will be looking forward to the upcoming Sacconi Festival in Folkestone, starting this Friday, 15th May. Do come along, if you can!
27 April 2015
We would like to invite you to come and experience the testing phase of HEARTFELT, an immersive, interactive performance that re-imagines a Beethoven quartet through robotics and audience responsive lighting design.
Together with robotic designers, Rusty Squid and interactive lighting designer, Ziggy Jacobs-Wyburn, the Sacconi Quartet are creating a project in which the audience will be able to experience a performance of Beethoven’s String Quartet in A minor Op.132, that moves beyond the realms of sight and sound.
We are carrying out a series of audience tests as part of the development process and would like to invite you to preview this work and provide feedback.
The audience testing will be taking place near Brick Lane in East London on Friday 1st May during the morning from 11am until 12:30pm and again in the afternoon from 2:30pm until 4pm. If you would like to be part of this please RSVP to Emilie Giles by Tuesday 28th April at email@example.com and she will assign you a slot.
8 April 2015
This July, the Sacconis are taking part in another unusual and innovative event, as part of a new play about Shostakovich at The Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford.
In 1958, at the height of his artistic ability and reputation, the composer Dmitri Shostakovich was invited by Oxford University to receive an Honorary Doctorate of Music, where he was hosted by Sir Isaiah and Lady Berlin. The play is based on the official correspondence and telegrams surrounding the visit, and include Berlin’s astonishing ruminations on the significance of Shostakovich’s visit
The play is followed by a performance by the Sacconis and pianist Colin Stone of Shostakovich's Piano Quintet, performed as though on the 25 June 1958. Full details can be found here, and details of the Sacconi performance are on the Diary page.
29 March 2015
21 March 2015
The Sacconi's latest Newsletter is now out, covering all the exciting news about the Quartet and their many different projects. There are details on the Sacconi's own Festival, in May down in Folkestone, as well as details of the many other Festivals around the country that the quartet will be performing in over the summer.
There are also details of two new projects that the Quartet will be premiering over the summer as part of the Spitalfields Festival and the Bristol Proms. Both feature the quartet in innovative settings, and both promise to deliver a new and unique sensory experience for the audience.
4 March 2015
What does it feel like to be a musician? As part of the Spitalfields Music Festival, the Sacconi Quartet takes Beethoven’s iconic String Quartet in A minor op. 132 and put their own feelings, quite literally, in the hands of the audience.
Through a combination of cutting-edge technology providing a real-time connection to the performers’ heartbeats, and quick-response, immersive lighting, the audience will experience the music through a multitude of senses; sight, sound and touch.
Join the Sacconis in this cutting-edge experience, where the senses become fused and the boundaries between performers and audience are blurred to hitherto unknown levels.
10 February 2015
On Tuesday 24th February, at 8pm, Cara will be joined by Libby Burgess (piano) and Jamie Campbell (principal 2nd violin with the Aurora Orchestra) for a recital at Dunsfold Music Circle, near Godalming. The programme will include piano trios by Beethoven and Ravel.
Further details can be obtained from Dunsfold Music Circle.
26 January 2015
This Wednesday, 28th January, the Sacconis will be performing live at the Fundacion Juan March in Madrid, in a concert that forms part of a series titled 'the Anti-Modernists', a term coined to describe composers who elected to bring the past up to date as a formula for modernity, rather than flatly rejecting it. Four of these 'Anti-Modernist' composers feature in the concert; Stravinsky, Sibelius, Bridge and Britten, and the whole concert is being broadcast live on RTE Radio Clasica at 19:30 CET (18:30 GMT).
If you couldn't listen to the live broadcast, the concert has been recorded and is available online. The concert can be found here on the Radio Clasica archive and the Sacconis appear from 32 minutes in to the recording.
15 January 2015
The official website of the European Commission Representation in the United Kingdom features a piece (see here) by Charles Kerry on this year's 150th anniversary of the Nordic composer Carl Nielsen, titled 'Nielsen’s 150th: an anniversary which we need', in which he makes a compelling case for the importance of this anniversary, and the significance of Nielsen's music in general.
He highlights the coverage Nielsen's symphonies are receiving, but bemoans the fact that his string quartets are receiving far less attention, with the notable exception of the Sacconi Quartet. He notes that the Sacconis are, at present, the only quartet listed as performing one of Nielsen's quartets this year (at Blackheath, Nottingham and Sheffield - see the Diary page for details).
11 January 2015
In the most recent edition of BBC R3's 'Building a Library', Robert Philip compared recordings of Dvorak's much-loved String Quartet known as the American Quartet, and makes a personal recommendations as to his top choices.
The Sacconi's recording was chosen as one of the top performances, attracting particular praise for their rendition of the second movement, 'Lento'. He notes that 'they have the concentration to sustain the whole movement' and that 'their ending is as beautiful as any'. When he comes to his final selection, he admits 'if I have to choose a winner, I'm really just choosing one among equals'.
The full programme can be found on BBC iPlayer until 8th February.