A large audience at Shrewsbury Abbey was privileged to witness a remarkable performance of Elgar’s violin concerto by young violinist Jennifer Pike, accompanied by the Shrewsbury Symphony Orchestra under their charismatic conductor John Moore. As soon as she started, Jennifer had the full attention of the audience as her wonderfully rich tone soared across the Abbey.
We were transfixed by her calm authority and impressive technique as she quickly established a rapport with conductor and orchestra. In the second movement she was never dwarfed by the orchestra and this movement in particular demonstrated her ability to build and release musical tension with, seemingly, little effort. The final movement produced a scintillating display of violin pyrotechnics as the soloist coped admirably with the many technical challenges – bravura passage-work, dynamic contrasts, superb bow control and keen, yet unfussy, articulation were all admirable qualities in this performance, which culminated in a mesmerising cadenza. This was playing of the highest quality, and after prolonged and deserved applause she treated us to a Bach Sarabande as an encore.