Jonathan Dove, Sacconi Quartet - In Damascus

Published Tuesday 1st August 2017
Jonathan Dove, Sacconi Quartet - In Damascus
Jonathan Dove, Sacconi Quartet - In Damascus

STYLE: Classical
RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 166776-25984
LABEL: Signum Classics SIGCD487

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

Jonathan Dove is currently the most performed living opera composer in the United Kingdom as well as providing choirs both professional and amateur with many popular works both sacred and secular. This collection is primarily instrumental and while it will be of great interest to those who enjoy contemporary classical music it must be said that nothing on it is explicitly Christian. His new commission from the Sacconi Quartet 'In Damascus' was inspired by the violinist Hannah Dawson's suggestion for a work that should reflect aspects of the conflict in Syria; not because music can offer any political solution, but simply as an expression of empathy, sorrow, even outrage at those terrible events. Featuring a performance by tenor Mark Padmore, the text is taken from prose-poems by Ali Safar that draw on his first-hand experiences in Syria, eloquently translated by Anne-Marie McManus. The end result is both moving and thought-provoking and while I doubt it will enter the Church music repertoire it is none the less well worth hearing. The Sacconis present this new work alongside Dove's string quartet Out Of Time, and his Piano Quintet - performed with pianist Charles Owen. Both are well played. The string quartet is full of life and reminded this listener of the Kronos Quartet's excursions into playing the music of Jimi Hendrix (which works much better than you might expect). The Piano Quintet reminds me of George Gershwin which is again no bad thing at all. Any who find contemporary classical music intimidating could do worse than to give this collection a listen. It confirms the composer Jonathan Dove as a talented and tuneful writer who is unafraid to explore challenging subjects.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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