Solstice String Quartet
Type: Concert
Date: Sunday 20 June 2010


Jamie Campbell - First Violin
Helena Nicholls - Second Violin
Meghan Cassidy – Viola
Gregor Riddell - Cello
With Timothy Orpen - Clarinet

Concert sponsored by the Royal Over-Seas League

Haydn String Quartet Op 64 No 6
Janácek String Quartet No 2 “Intimate Letters”
Mozart Clarinet Quintet


The final concert of the 2010 Shaldon Festival maintained the excellent standard set over the three previous evenings. The young Solstice String Quartet were first prize winners in the prestigious 2009 Royal Over-Seas League Music Competition and we are most grateful to ROSL for financially supporting this concert. It was an honour to welcome Roderick Lakin, Director of Arts for the Royal Over-Seas League, who gave an introductory talk with a short history of the ROSL. It is a Commonwealth membership organization founded in 1910 to foster international understanding and friendship, and unlike other clubs at that time it offered women equal membership status to men. Today ROSL is a not-for-profit club, handily placed behind the Ritz Hotel in London, and the organizer of arts and educational projects.

It was fitting to follow Haydn’s Creation from the previous evening with his String Quartet in E Flat Major, Op.64 No.6; both works stemming from Haydn’s visit to London in 1791. The Opus 64 quartets received their first performance in June that year in the Festino Room in Hanover Square. The wit, sparkle and humour of this piece were all infectiously conveyed by the Solstice String Quartet in this performance; they were technically superb with a well balanced sound.

In the second piece, String Quartet No.2 “Intimate Letters”, the players captured the intensity and passion of this work, composed by Leoš Janá?ek in the last year of his life. Janá?ek’s unreciprocated passion for a much younger woman, Kamila Stösslová inspired him to express in music the kind of emotional turmoil usually expressed in words. Full of harmonic and rhythmic twists and turns, the Solstice String Quartet conveyed the different emotions well e.g. red-blooded passion, quiet contemplation, jealous anger, without losing the overall continuity of the music.

The clarinet player Timothy Orpen joined the Solstice String Quartet for the eagerly anticipated final work of the concert, Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet. To re-capture the authenticity of the work, Timothy Orpen had commissioned a clarinet maker to provide him with a basset clarinet; a standard clarinet but longer with additional keys to be able to play several lower notes. He explained to the audience that Anton Stadler, Mozart’s fellow Mason and gambling partner, had created his own basset clarinet for the first performance. The original manuscript has long disappeared, (probably stolen by Stadler) and subsequent scores were noted for the standard Eb clarinet so it is quite difficult to work out which notes should be played at the lower pitch.

The opening Allegro was played with feeling and empathy, leading into the Larghetto which is the heart of the work bringing the clarinet more into the limelight. It was a beautifully expressive performance by Timothy Orpen and the string players responded well by blending into the background at some points, but still reminding us of their presence. The dance-like third movement had many in the audience tapping their feet and the final theme and set of five variations provided a perfect platform for the highly skilled playing of these five young musicians.

Enid Hayles

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.