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Sacconi Quartet

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by Kym Hamer (subscribe)
Kym is an Aussie sheila who came to the UK, set down her swag, and stayed. Check out her everyday moments at
Published September 17th 2012
Music and passion - always in fashion
The King's Place Festival has been running in London over the weeeknd of 14-16 September (2012) and while this review might go live a little late for you to attend, I have been inspired to share my time yesterday with the brilliant Sacconi Quartet.

Sacconi Quartet
The Sacconi Quartet, formed in 2001, are a group of four talented and passionate musicians who met during their time at the Royal College of Music. They are a string quartet - if you are uninitiated like me, this comprises of two violins (first violin - Ben, second violin - Hannah), a viola (Robin) and a cello (Cara).

Sacconi Quartet
Sacconi Quartet L to R: Ben Hancox, Cara Berridge, Hannah Dawson, Robin Ashwell
Sacconi Quartet's commitment is not just to their own experience of music but to bring this passion to new generations. Whilst building an enviable reputation and maintaining a program of live performances and recordings over the last 10 years, the foursome support a variety of educational opportunities and have run their Sacconi Festival in Folkestone each year since 2005, as a realisation of their vision.

I had the opportunity to enjoy a couple of aspects of Sacconi Quartet's 'educational' performance repertoire yesterday with two of their programs; Sacconi Sound Bites and Bartok's Third Quartet - What's Under The Bonnet.

Sacconi Sound Bites
During Sound Bites, the Quartet played five pieces over the 45 minute period. Each was introduced by one of the group, providing an overview of the 'story' in the music and sharing a few notes on the particular composer or interesting techniques to look out for.

We listened to Haydn, Mendelssohn, Wolf, Suk and Beethoven - a glorious journey through moods and ages. I found myself especially overwhelmed by Mendelssohn's Movement 1 from String Quartet No. 2 in A Minor (written when he was just 18 years old) and deeply moved by Suk's Meditation on an Old Czech Hymn 'St Wenceslas'.

Before it knew it, the foursome were taking their bows and leaving the stage to rapturous applause, so it was time for a quick wander and a coffee before returning to see what was actually under the bonnet of Bartok's Third Quartet.

Bartok's Third Quartet - What's Under the Bonnet?
First violinist Ben led the audience through each of the four movements before the quartet played the piece from beginning to end. I'd not really heard of Bartok or listened to his music before (nor had a large proportion of the audience) but as Ben explained, this was why sessions such as these are important to the Sacconi Quartet in their mission to bring this wonderful music to 'the masses'.

Sacconi Quartet
Practice makes perfect

The session began with an allegory: entering a 'foreign country'' aka Bartok's repertoire, with an understanding of the 'language' makes the experience so much richer. And Ben's mix of story-telling combined with Sacconi's technical example and passion took us deep into Bartok's controversial style and at the end of the 45 minutes, the audience responded again with rapturous applause.

Richness and Depth
Classical music is not everyone's cup of tea and in this digital world, of creation at the push of a button, it's easy to forget how extraordinary music like this is.

There's a richness and depth of sound as each instrument contributes its own particular form and style to a piece. And as you listen, it's worth remembering that a few centuries ago, young men like Mendelssohn and Mozart, Beethoven and Bach, had the vision not only to create an extraordinary auditory journey for the listener, but also to finesse the layers, exploring boundaries and expanding techniques to finish with a holistic and synergistic sound designed to move, challenge and uplift.

Sacconi Quartet
Sacconi Quartet: bringing their passion for music to the masses

The Sacconi Quartet's mission is to open up this world to those of us who perhaps lack the language to enjoy the musical vision of these past virtuosos, and to inspire future generations of musicians and music-lovers.

For me, it was mission accomplished. And by sharing this extraordinary afternoon, I hope it inspires you to lend the Sacconi Quartet 'your ears' for an hour or two sometime soon.

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Why? For an extraordinary - and accessible - musical experience
When: All year 'round
Phone: Sacconi Friends/Festival: 07974 102014
Where: Check the website, for live performances
Cost: King's Place tickets were 4.50 each
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