Young violinist Jennifer shows a mature talent

Alnwick Music Society was delighted to welcome back to their concert in the Castle Guest Hall young violinist Jennifer Pike.

Jennifer first came to prominence in 2002 when she won the BBC Young Musician of the Year at the age of 12. Her reputation as a musician of the highest order continues to grow.

Miss Pike may still be in her early 20s but here is a mature talent, with playing that ranks with the best.

Her technique is secure and she produced the most ravishing tone from the 1708 Matteo Goffriller violin, with warm intensity in the lower notes and both sweet and dazzling tones as she reached to scale the heavens.

Her partner on the piano was Tom Poster, himself an acclaimed prize-winner. His playing was a perfect foil, never dominating the violin, which in Miss Pike’s hands often played exquisitely quietly. Even in the loudest sections of each work, Tom always produced a most attractive sound, unlike some virtuosi whose treatment of the piano can lead to very clangourous and almost ugly sounds.

The programme began with a short work by Miss Pike’s father Jeremy, called Aphelion. Then came an admirable pairing of works by Robert Schumann, his first violin sonata written in 1851, and his wife Clara’s Three Romances.

Debussy’s almost deathbed Violin Sonata beguiled us with its impressionistic mood painting. It was followed by Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending. Our fabulous duo created again the magic of this wonderful composition and, in this version for violin and piano, one hardly missed the absence of the orchestra.

Next came Praeludium and Allegro by Fritz Kreisler. For an encore, we were whisked into the jazz age with Jascha Heifetz’s arrangement of Gershwin’s It ain’t Necessarily So. Magic all round.

Martin Gillham