Review: Ipswich Chamber Music Society, Ipswich School, February 22

Ipswich Chamber Music Society performed at Ipswich School

Ipswich Chamber Music Society performed at Ipswich School - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The Sacconi String Quartet’s concert on Saturday concluded Ipswich Chamber Music Society’s 88th Season.

It prompted several thoughts. One is the wonderful talents of so many British-based youngish groups such as the Sacconi, Belcea, Elias, Heath and Carducci Quartets, all of whom have delighted the Society in recent years.

Another thought is the amazing number and variety of string quartets written from then time of Haydn to the present day.

The Sacconi chose Haydn’s Op 20, No 5, a fascinating dark-hued work, played effectively with little vibrato.

It is strange to think that this fine piece – 240 years old – has probably not been played previously in a public concert in Ipswich.


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Again, Schumann’s Second Quartet, a much lighter and lyrical work, which ended the concert, is rarely heard being squeezed out by dozens of better-known pieces.

The high point of the evening was the Sacconi’s superb performance of Benjamin Britten’s Second Quartet, a work influenced by the Second World War.

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The sheer power of its final movement, based on Purcell’s Chaconne, was deeply felt by players and audience alike.

My third thought is that such music is far from the popular notion that chamber music is merely relaxing.

Ipswich Chamber Music Society is to be congratulated for bringing such marvellous music to Ipswich every year since 1925.

NEIL SALMON

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