Jonathan Dove - In Damascus | Signum SIGCD487

Jonathan Dove - In Damascus


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Label: Signum

Cat No: SIGCD487

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Release Date: 16th June 2017



Sacconi Quartet
Mark Padmore (tenor)
Charles Owen (piano)


Dove, Jonathan

In Damascus for tenor and string quartet
Out of Time for string quartet
Piano Quintet


Sacconi Quartet
Mark Padmore (tenor)
Charles Owen (piano)


Although Jonathan Dove is best known as a vocal and choral composer, with operas and works for children forming the backbone of his output, his chamber music reveals similar predilections for narrative, drama, atmosphere and a sense of the personal. His new commission from the Sacconi Quartet, In Damascus, was inspired by violinist Hannah Dawson’s suggestion for a work that should reflect aspects of the conflict in Syria; not because music can offer any political solution, but simply as an expression of empathy, sorrow, even outrage at those terrible events. Featuring a performance by tenor Mark Padmore, the text is taken from prose-poems by Ali Safar that draw on his first-hand experiences in Syria, eloquently translated by Anne-Marie McManus.

In Damascus picked up excellent reviews in both the Guardian and the Financial Times, following its London premiere at the Sacconi's 15th birthday concert at Kings Place last July. The Guardian awarded the concert five stars, describing it as "unusual and timely", with a libretto that is "both simple and direct, without any hint of rhetoric or sensation". Mark Padmore was praised for his "immaculate artistry", and the Guardian concluded that "The overall impact of the work and its performance was profound, an unforgettable example of the power of art to convey something terrible through an expression that is paradoxically in itself beautiful."

"As ever, Dove writes well for the voice and tenor Mark Padmore was very expressive in his music, the many high-lying lines floated in a head voice reminiscent of Britten’s writing for Peter Pears. For the Sacconi Quartet this was an anniversary celebrated in some style." - Financial Times (concert review)


Signum Classics’ advocacy of the music of Jonathan Dove continues apace with this superb new chamber/vocal release, recorded in the summer of 2016 ... Seldom does a mixed vocal and chamber programme such as this hang together so perfectly, each successive work tightening the ratchet of intensity towards a final, despairing and pertinently contemporary anguish. It helps that all of the performers are at the top of their communicative powers. The UK-based Sacconi Quartet make light work of Dove’s technical challenges, producing a tight and sweet unity of purpose, aided by a close recorded balance. Charles Owen has the happy knack of providing just enough pianistic support when the strings are to the fore and Mark Padmore brings his full emotional range to the disc’s largest work. ... This important release cannot be recommended too highly.  Malcolm Riley (Recording of the Month)
Gramophone August 2017
Gramophone Editor's Choice

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