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SIDMOUTH: ISCA ensemble perform at church

Thursday, 06 March 2014

Classical music goers in Sidmouth are now familiar with the abilities of the ISCA Ensemble, under its musical director Roger Hendy, to rise to the stern musical challenges it sets itself and the chamber offspring of that orchestra gave itself a similar challenge in All Saints Church, Sidmouth last Saturday, March 1st.
Antony Clements and Trevor Taylor (violins), Roger Hendy (viola) and Tirke Linnemann (cello) began with Mendelssohn’s String Quartet in E minor. It is an attractive piece on the ear. The gently opening first movement gathers complexity as it goes along before giving way to a sprightly and graceful scherzo. The slow movement comes third paving the way for the lively presto finale, with rhythmic dance tunes and lyrical melodies. All this belies its difficulty as a piece to play, as Roger’s commentary afterwards confirmed.
Next was Shostakovich’s sixth quartet. The players gave the audience only the first movement, which has an overall feeling of lightness and innocence. Though this is sustained, Shostakovich’s stock in trade anxieties seem to be ever near, as even the dying chords remind us.
The second half presented a change of form, the four becoming five with the addition of Richard Wood on viola, to perform Dvorak’s String Quintet in E flat, opus 97. The folk song first movement turns into the gypsy dances of the second. More interesting is the larghetto third, a theme and five variations bringing changes of mood. The finale returns us to the charms of the rustic dance.
Roger Trumper, vicar at All Saints, had welcomed concert goers to the recently reordered building, now lighter and airier than before, and where even from the obscurest corner the overhead projection provided a clear view of the action.
The Isca Ensemble will appear at Sidmouth Parish Church again on March 22nd to help raise money for the Sidmouth Hospital Comforts Fund.

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