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COMPOSERS: Jonathan Dove
LABELS: Signum
WORKS: In Damascus; Out of Time; Piano Quintet
PERFORMER: Mark Padmore (tenor), Charles Owen (piano); Sacconi Quartet


The Sacconi Quartet commissioned Jonathan Dove’s song-cycle In Damascus to ‘reflect aspects of the conflict in Syria’. To that end it sets texts by the contemporary Syrian poet Ali Safar. Tenor Mark Padmore brings to the cycle’s opening two songs, and to its pained conclusion ‘My country’, exquisitely poised legato singing, sweetly tuned and with immaculate articulation. 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 a cycle whose subject-matter dictates that Dove’s music is for the most part wracked and torn emotionally.

Out of Time is quite different, an often bustling, upbeat piece in six movements for string quartet, described by Dove as ‘a serenade for someone I never met’. Pianist Charles Owen joins the Sacconis for the Piano Quintet, his crisp, incisive playing making a particular impression in the rhythmically buoyant outer movements. All three pieces on this excellently performed disc are first recordings.

Terry Blain


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