23 September 2013
To begin the 72nd season the Marlborough College Concert Series presented the Sacconi String Quartet in a varied programme of music by Haydn, Benjamin Britten and Beethoven. The Sacconis are a young quartet on the rise and on this performance it’s easy to see why. Brimming with sparkle, energy and fizz this was a performance of real class and flair, with a freshness that comes with the flourish of youth and the audience clearly enjoyed themselves. The Haydn Quartet that opened proceedings was precise, neat and nimble – a perfect curtain raiser to Britten’s 2nd String Quartet which followed. 2013 is the 100th anniversary of the composer’s birth so it was a fitting inclusion and following an informative introduction from viola player Robin Ashwell, we were treated to a spirited and atmospheric performance of this marvellous work. There was the necessary vigour and robust attack alongside some breath-taking colours, and ensemble was judged to perfection, making for an altogether memorable performance.
There was only one work in the second half, but what a work. Beethoven’s late quartet Opus 132 is a truly immense piece and timeless in its ability to sound utterly original on each hearing and the Sacconi’s rendition was both persuasive and polished. Late Beethoven presents significant musical and technical challenges for the players: optimum control, precision in phrasing, unification of intonation and significant stamina to name but a few, but again, the Sacconi Quartet didn’t disappoint – on the contrary, they warmed to the task in hand delivering a truly special performance. A fitting start to the 2013/2014 season.
23 May 2013
A Boy Was Born continued on Tuesday with the visit to Sheffield of another high-profile ensemble. While the space lacks intimacy, the sound tends to be warm and clear, and the Sacconi noticeably grew into it over the course of the evening.
Two pieces of Shostakovich opened the evening: working through matters of intonation, the group played a shimmering Elegy and a spirited Polka. Then, warming up, there followed Haydn’s Op 20 No 2 quartet, which although pleasingly full-bodied, quite rightly never became more than ‘late-classical’ in scale.
The main course was Britten’s Second Quartet. Here, especially in the epic Chacony, was an inexorable nervous energy. If anything, the quieter moments were grittier, more tense, than the strident loud passages.
At the close, the deliciously delayed resolution being played with presence and not a jot of unnecessary showmanship, it seemed that the genius of Britten was speaking to us directly, without intervention. Such moments maketh memories!
22 September 2012
The excellently gutsy Sacconi Quartet
22 November 2011
The young British Sacconi Quartet provided the musical backdrops, with immaculate playing and precise ensemble, bringing Deazley’s characterful music to colourful life.
22 October 2011
To start the concert, the Sacconi Quartet delighted in Haydn, distinguished by clean, classical playing, often with sparing vibrato. Both in Haydn and in Schubert's 'Death and the Maiden', the leader’s delicate phrases...were matched in the ‘Death’ second movement by finely balanced chording and blend from his colleagues...the Sacconi Quartet is a young group to watch out for.
22 July 2011
This Czech programme suits the infectious bounce and fizz of the Sacconis, who bring Dvorák's songful "American" quartet to vivid life and drive along the dance-like second movement of Smetana's Quartet No 1 with an irrepressible swing. But it's not all party hats and streamers: Smetana's story was a tragic one, ending in the nightmare of deafness. His quartet carries the title "From My Life", and the sensitive Sacconis bear solemn witness to his sorrowful journey into silence. Equally, they create a reverential stillness in Suk's Meditation on an Old Czech Hymn, a single-movement work of fervent yet dignified Czech nationalism, written as the first world war doused all the festive lights across Europe.
22 July 2011
...a sensational and revealing new recording... Here is a superlative disc from the Sacconi Quartet, on their own label, with a treasure trove of top-drawer performances from the rich Bohemian repertoire. I absolutely love their warm, deeply idiomatic performance of Dvorak’s American Quartet, probably the best-loved and most recorded piece in all Czech chamber music. Competition is fierce in this corner. In recent times there have been new recordings of the piece from the Wihan Quartet (too reverberant and leader-dominated for this palate) and the Pavel Haas Quartet (outstanding, but aggressively in your face). To these ears the Sacconi’s version is a better choice: spacious, unforced, but losing none of the pell-mell exhilaration in the finale. And I have never heard a more characterful and sympathetic account of Smetana’s First Quartet, with a brilliant performance of the Scherzo, whose middle section is almost hilarious in its portrayal of rustic dancing. And Josef Suk’s haunting Meditation on an old Czech hymn is a beauty.
Both Padmore and the Sacconi Quartet, who have a major expressive role as accompanists, are at their finest in ‘Soon, we will be free’, the serene, lyrical heart of 'In Damascus'Presto Recordings of the Year: Finalist 2017
The festival sensation, the young Sacconi Quartet completely bowled over a packed audience. The chemistry between these four young players is tangible and magical.The Scotsman
A beautiful blend of sound ... highly engaging.The Times
An exceptional ensemble ... a unanimous sense of musical breath and a meticulous attention to detail.Musical Opinion
A quartet of genuine substance.The Daily Telegraph
Great power and sweetness ... intimate closeness.The Spectator
Enviable technical prowess.The Strad
The finest I have ever heardEdward Clark, British Sibelius Society
A triumphant performanceThe Observer