• The Polish Violin

    • ‘Jennifer Pike’s exceptional sensitivity to tonal inflection and temporal flexibility works wonders in Szymanowski’s Mythes , whose bar-line-free invocations of Greek mythology create the impression of profoundly inspired extemporisations. Pike intoxicates the senses.. via a captivating range of tonal colours, dynamic inflection and articulation. Lustrously inspired works which Pike sends soaring aloft with radiant allure. Pike invests it [Karlowicz Impromptu] with such open-air freshness and gentle affection that it emerges as though hot off the press.’

      Chamber Choice

      Julian Haylock, February 2019

    • …what a climax! Jennifer Pike approaches the Mythes with a tone of glistening, succulent sweetness, coupled to a generous vibrato, swooping, sensuous phrasing and intense, often dazzling radiance. Her intonation even in harmonics and double-stops, is superbly assured. Then it’s on to the Nocturne and Tarantella: by turns smouldering and positively incendiary. With virtuoso playing of ferocious bravura, it almost felt like a fourth Mythe…a simply ravishing disc, thrillingly played

      Richard Bratby, February 2019

    • Brilliant and personal exploration of a violinist’s cultural heritage…Jennifer Pike has a bloodline to this repertoire via her Polish mother but hasn’t simply rested on genealogy, absorbing Polish culture and travelling to the Tatra mountains for this disc. Her affinity with Polish expressionistic melancholy is evidenced by deep, personal playing at low registers and a striking harbouring of the sort of ecstatic rapture Szymanowski brings to the high ones. Pike’s engagement with his scented world is made more of rapt rather than neurotic intensity, with touches of fragility, idiosyncratic little glissandos and some exceptional instances of focus. There is every challenge in the book…but in none of those technical challenges does Pike sound anything other than lost in the music.

      Andrew Mellor, April 2019

  • Like to the Lark

    • Fascinating and convincing choral approach to a violin concerto favourite.

      For readers of The Strad, the main focus of interest in this radiantly engineered disc is Jennifer Pike’s enraptured rendering of Paul Drayton’s 2018 arrangement of Vaughan Williams’s The Lark Ascending. The outer sections are sung as a vocalise, with the central section becoming an inspired evocation of the George Meredith poem that inspired the work in the first place. The otherworldly effect created by integrating the violin (the most naturally ‘vocal’ of all instruments) with the magical, floated sonorities produced by the Swedish Chamber Choir under the highly gifted Simon Phipps is nothing short of entrancing. Indeed, hearing VW’s stunning invention hoisted gently and seamlessly aloft as if on warm summer breezes feels like a realisation of sounds and sensations at which the orchestral version seems poignantly to hint.

      All of this could have been for nothing, were it not for the ravishing sounds produced by Pike at the peak of her powers, playing a glorious Guarneri ‘del Gesu’ loaned to her by the Beare’s International Violin Society. As she alternately weaves in and out of and flutters above the choral textures, it feels as though one were somehow miraculously listening to a lark in flight. No less unforgettable is her delectably golden-toned contribution to Ola Gjeilo’s Serenity of 2010.

      Julian Haylock