Inspiring music produces a boost for charities

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‘Four of Britain’s top chamber musicians came together on the Isle of Harris to explore and perform Beethoven’s String Quartet masterpieces which encompass the whole of Beethoven’s life’ and with The Mission House Studio raised £3,000.00 for charity.

The worthy charities supported were The Leanne Fund, a charity which provides funding for special treats for Cystic Fibrosis sufferers in the Highlands and Western Isles of Scotland; and Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS), a charity that provides the only hospice services in Scotland for children and young people with life-shortening conditions.

Piers Hellawell describes: “The Kyle Quartet Beethoven Cycle at Finsbay’s Mission House Studio showed, yet again, the capacity of Harris to transcend its rocky shores and astonish those who think think they know the island.

“To have one of the summits of Western culture presented, at the highest level, yards from the shoreline in a building rich in stillness and among the beautiful artifacts of Nickolai Globe and partner Beka Globe, is dangerously close to a sort of heaven.

“There are obvious practical reasons, but no greater ones, why these islands should not have their share of great performance arts, and these have been surmounted triumphantly by Kyle String Quartet and The Mission House Studio and with such guile and charm that one wonders why it has not happened before.

“Of course there have been, for long-term residents, performance occasions in Rodel Church and even in private houses - but one senses that this team means business, and business with proceeds in aid of important charities to boot.

“Any live string quartet performance of Beethoven is a battle zone, since strife and resolution is the discourse of the classical style: it was his achievement in the early 19th Century to elevate the quartet’s four ‘voices’ to a plane where they vie, remonstrate, hurtle off at tangents and, just as suddenly, merge like lovers.

“For this very reason, to witness a fine quartet performance in an intimate venue can be dangerously like being a guest uncomfortably caught in a family row at a dinner party; art is not meant to be comfortable.

“So often, though, the collateral damage of this is fractured ensemble and dodgy tuning, for the medium of the quartet is exposed like no other in music, except solo singing: there is nowhere to hide, since ‘playing safe’ is fatal to the music’s drama - yet to join battle is to court musical injury as the fur flies.

“We should be grateful but not surprised, since the richest of experiences find a good home here in Harris, if anywhere, in our fracturing world”.

Heartfelt thanks to those who came and enjoyed the best play the best while supporting two very worthy charities.

For 2012 the Mission House are lining up some equally inspiring events visit their website for more details: www.themissionhouse.co.uk