A fine partnership between Jennifer Pike and Martin Roscoe[Pike] has been a strong advocate for Miklós Rózsa’s work, recording both the Violin Concerto and these variations in their orchestral version, for Chandos, and she displayed an innate feeling for the Hungarian-inflected ‘voice’ of the music. Each variation was played with incredible care and nuance in order to capture its individual spirit: nostalgic or forthright, delicate or pugnacious. The unaccompanied statement of the theme was beautifully soulful, and then richly harmonised by Roscoe. It takes enormous skill and discipline not just to play Rózsa’s intricacies and fancies with such precision but also to make the music sound so spontaneous and free. Pike and Roscoe danced their way through the spiky pizzicato jauntiness, luxuriated in the melodising and breezed through the rhythmic fun. In the demanding double-stops Pike’s tone was unfailingly warm and she raced through the precipitous passages crisply.
Having whipped up a whirl of passion in Rózsa’s celebration of his homeland, Pike and Roscoe returned to English shores for their encore, calming us once more with a beautifully unaffected and articulate rendition of Elgar’s Salut d’amour.