Academy of St Martin in the Fields, Cley

Cley Church makes a wonderful setting for a weekend of chamber music. The Music in Country Churches series raises large sums to help with repair and maintenance of such buildings, though presumably only churches of “exceptional beauty and interest” need apply.

By FRANK CLIFF

Cley Church makes a wonderful setting for a weekend of chamber music. The Music in Country Churches series raises large sums to help with repair and maintenance of such buildings, though presumably only churches of “exceptional beauty and interest” need apply.

These events tend to be social as well as musical, though the fare provided on Saturday by the Academy of St Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble was music-making of the highest calibre.

They began with a stylish, but not too rarefied, reading of Purcell's G minor Chaconne, the work's bitter-sweet melancholy heightened by the less usual scoring of string quartet and double-bass.


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A performance of Mozart's clarinet quintet sounded as fresh and vital as one could wish for with supremely accomplished playing from clarinettist Richard Hosford, the larghetto especially fine and balance between strings and soloist always perfect.

Mozart's Divertimento K287 for strings and two horns was in all probability written with solo strings in mind, and finding a section capable of producing such accurate and elegant playing as Kenneth Sillitoe did of the virtuoso first violin part would doubtless still be a problem. Fine horn playing too from Timothy Brown and Michael Murray in a sparkling performance which all the players clearly enjoyed.

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