Date: Thursday 24 June 2021
Zara Benyounes, violin
Stephen Upshaw, viola
Ashok Klouda, cello
Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE, double bass
Stewart Goodyear, piano
Review of Chineke! Chamber Ensemble Concert for Shaldon Festival 24/6/21
The first thing to say is that it was wonderful to be hearing live classical music in this village again. Congratulations to Marion and the committee for rethinking the Festival and for bringing these amazing musicians to their furthest South and West venue so far!
This concert was an absolute delight from start to finish. These are highly accomplished musicians with impeccable techniques and ensemble skills which are taken for granted so that the total focus is on the music they are playing.
Part of the mission of Chineke! is to promote music by black and ethnic minority composers, and the opening pieces, 2 movements from ‘Five Folksongs in Counterpoint’ were by the mixed heritage composer Florence B. Price. I’m afraid I hadn’t heard of her, so thank you Chineke! for this introduction. We should all have heard of her. Lovely arrangements of 2 well known spirituals’ Drink to me Only’ and ‘Shortnin Bread’, with touches of Debussy (whole tone scales and pizzicato sections) as well as the simplicity of the original songs.
The performance of Schubert’s Trout Quintet left me feeling I was hearing it with new ears. There were so many subtle and understated moments as well as full blooded sections of joy and energy. The communication between the players and their obvious enjoyment of the music were very evident and such a pleasure to watch. From the complexity and changing colours of the first movement, through the beautifully lyrical slow movement, we were transported to the fizzing scherzo with bounding energy.
The famous Trout variations afforded every player some prominence in turn, all equally beautifully played and accompanied by the others. The quintets intense communication and enjoyment of the music was nowhere more evident than in this movement. The finale seemed to gather the beauty and the energy of the previous movements and sweep us with tremendous gusto to the final chords.
As for the encore, an amazing tribute to the Trout quintet by Dutch composer and bass player Marijn Van Prooijn showed us even more what versatile and all rounded musicians these players are, with a great sense of fun. They were as at home with the singing/humming/whistling, cello slapping and boogie vamping required by this piece as they were with the Schubert! And there’s the thing – their familiarity and competence with a wide range of music seems to inform their classical playing and it makes it so fresh and utterly captivating.
We are so lucky to have hosted them in Shaldon. Sublime music – supreme performances.
Parking Map for St Peter's Church, Shaldon
VENUESt Peter’s Church, Bridge Road, Shaldon, TQ14 0DB
CAR PARKING ADVICE
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.
PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
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.