Innovation Chamber Ensemble
Type: Concert
Date: Sunday 19 June 2011

Innovation Chamber Ensemble
(Strings from the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra)

Concert Supported by the Exeter & District Classical Music Trust

Violins: Zoë Beyers, Peter Campbell-Kelly, Lena Zeliszewska, Byron Parish
Violas: Adam Romer, Amy Fawcett
‘Cellos: Richard Jenkinson, Kate Setterfield

Shostakovich Two Pieces for Octet
Brahms Sextet in B flat major op 18
Mendelssohn Octet in E flat op 20


Many of the Shaldon Festival audience will have been familiar with the chamber music works performed at Sunday’s concert as they are generally included in most string players’ repertoire. However not everyone will have heard them played with the energy and passion displayed by the Innovation Chamber Ensemble!

The concert opened with Shostakovich’s Two Pieces for String Octet. This was his first chamber work, considered avant-garde, written in 1924 when he was still a student. The first piece was influenced perhaps by the revolutionary romanticism pervading 1920s Russia. The second piece, a Scherzo - full of clashing dissonances, loud pizzicato and glissandi associated with the composer - has been described as the wildest movement in all octet repertoire. It is not difficult to understand why Shostakovich has been described by some as the original king of Hip Hop!

This was followed by the Sextet for Strings in B flat Major by Brahms, written in 1860 at a particularly happy time of his life. The first movement opens with a ravishing cello solo followed by an andante movement of variations on a folk melody. Clara Schumann was so taken by one variation that Brahms arranged it for solo piano and presented it to her on her birthday. The work continues with a Scherzo in which the influence of Haydn can be heard, and ends with a Rondo whose opening cello theme transports the listener into a ‘pure world of beauty'.

The final work to be played was the String Octet in E flat Major, by Mendelssohn, written when the composer was just 16 years old and already a celebrated child prodigy. The work begins with an Allegro Moderato, followed by a slow and sonorous Andante. The Scherzo is the most well-known movement - an eight-part energetic fugue, likened to fairy music vanishing into thin air. It ends with a Presto, demonstrating Mendelssohn’s brilliant command of counterpoint. This work became one of the composer’s favourites.

It may be some time before we see a chamber ensemble of such talented string players. Their rapport with each other, the smiles, the frequent eye contact and evident pleasure in playing together on such beautiful instruments, was a joy to behold. A magnificent concert and a great treat for the Festival supporters who responded with huge enthusiasm and sheer delight! The Innovation Chamber Ensemble very generously rewarded us with an encore - repeating the last movement of Mendelssohn’s Octet to shouts and loud cries of appreciation.

A truly wonderful evening! We all hope very much that they will make a return visit very soon.

Hilary Morgan-Richards

Festival worth trip of 4,000 miles

Bill Studdiford of St Petersburg, USA writes:
As a visitor from America, I can't help thinking how fortunate you all are in the area to have the yearly Shaldon Music Festival.

I travelled more than 4,000 miles to enjoy two evenings of it - and you are all within easy driving (or walking) distance.

Watching Sir Neville Marriner from only about 5ft away conducting more than 200 choir members, four soloists and two musicians was a delight on Saturday night. I'll never again hear Rossini's Petite Messe Solennelle without remembering it at St Peter's Church in Shaldon, with its remarkable acoustics.

On Sunday night, the Innovation Chamber Ensemble was another magnificent evening to experience - those glorious strings! Had I known 70 years ago a violin could make such magic, I might have continued my own studies.

My special thanks to President Eileen Croxford Parkhouse, and the Sir John and Lady Amory's Charitable Trust, along with the other trusts, whose generosity made this splendid Shaldon Festival possible - not forgetting the 105 patrons listed in the programme.

I'm already planning a return visit in 2012 for more - and hope to see you there.

Teignmouth Advertiser/Post, Friday, June 24, 2011

Parking Map for St Peter's Church, Shaldon


St Peter’s Church, Bridge Road, Shaldon, TQ14 0DB


1. Long Stay Public Carpark ½ mile from the church, reached through the village or off the A379 coast road to Torquay, postcode TQ14 0HP – 381 spaces, “pay & display” during the day but free after 6.00pm. Allow 15 minutes for the blue walking route shown.
2. Short Stay Public Carpark, opposite the church, postcode TQ14 0BP – 48 spaces, “pay & display” subject to a short stay 4 hour limit during the day but free after 6.00pm.
3. Extra parking – limited space adjoining the recreation ground reached from Ringmore Road but with easy pedestrian access to the Church along the estuary embankment. If using this area, please park “tidily” to maximise the usable space; this area is only available for parking as a special arrangement for the Festival.


Please telephone Malcolm Watson on 01626 873492 if you need help with letting someone alight at the church and/or need seating space for a wheelchair. In addition, there are a very few parking spaces close to the church which we can reserve for those with mobility difficulties on a first come, first served, basis.