Dove: In Damascus; Out of Time; Piano Quintet

Reviewed on Wed 12 Jul, 2017

Discretely perfumed with the merest hints of Middle Eastern idioms, Dove’s compassionate music is beautifully restrained and all the more moving because of it.

Composed from remembered impressions of a peaceful Syria to a war-torn text by native poet Ali Safar, Jonathan Dove’s ‘In Damascus’ proves a powerful, passionate and above all humane commentary on that country’s current plight. Safar’s prose tells of unrelenting suffering lit up by moments of redeeming hope; experiences and emotions articulated with the utmost sensitivity by Mark Padmore and the Sacconi Quartet. Discretely perfumed with the merest hints of Middle Eastern idioms, Dove’s compassionate music is beautifully restrained and all the more moving because of it. The fresh, vital and engaging Out of Time (Dove’s sole string quartet) prompts impeccable playing from the Sacconi foursome in nimbly reciprocal, multi-faceted performances. So, too, in the colour-saturated Piano Quintet, with Charles Owen’s characterful piano blending perfectly to underline its poised formality and add to the sense of poetic fantasy. Excellent sound and useful notes from Julian Grant.
–Michael Quinn