Academy of St Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble
Type: Concert
Date: Sunday 21 June 2009


Concert supported by the Exeter & District Classical Music Trust

Kenneth Sillito violin
Martin Burgess violin
Robert Smissen viola
Stephen Orton cello
Hamish Milne piano

Beethoven Piano Quartet Op 16 in Eb
Dvorak Terzetto
Brahms Piano Quintet


One word describes the final concert of the 2009 Shaldon Festival given by The Academy of St Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble: perfection.

Although not taking part in the concert itself, Sir Neville Marriner had graciously accepted the Festival Committee’s invitation to introduce the players. He congratulated the Festival on reaching its 20th year and paid a warm tribute to Eileen Croxford Parkhouse, a contemporary of his at the Royal College of Music and lifelong friend.

The concert opened with Beethoven Piano Quartet in E Flat Major, Op. 16 and it soon became apparent that this was to be a very special evening. Showing immaculate concentration and understanding, the string and piano playing was superb throughout from the rich Grave introduction that so seamlessly leads into the purposeful Allegro, on to the slow movement (one of Beethoven’s graceful songs), to the merry and uncomplicated rounding off of the finale. Martin Burgess then joined Kenneth Sillito and Robert Smissen for an engaging performance of Dvorak Terzetto for Two Violins and Viola. Standing up to play this four movement work it became a delightful musical conversation between the players and was thoroughly entertaining.

The final work in the concert was Brahms Piano Quintet in F minor, Op. 34. It was stunningly well played with tremendous vigour and power but never losing clarity. The technical command was amazing with the tempo transitions in the outer movements, the second movement lovingly played with a tender passion and the Scherzo exciting and intense. Following rapturous applause at the end, the audience was treated to a little gem of an encore. Entitled Stãndchen and composed by Richard Strauss when he was a teenager, Hamish Milne explained the piece was only discovered and published in the 1980's. It seems there was a wealthy Uncle Georg Pschorr, a master brewer, who supported him as a boy and Strauss wrote a few pieces as a thank you.

The widely agreed verdict on this season’s series of concerts is that it was a vintage year. Over 1,000 people attended the Festival over the four days in June, enjoying live classical music of the very highest standard. For a small, coastal village in Devon, Shaldon can be justly proud of this community event; plans are well in hand for the 21st season 17-20 June 2010.

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.