It was difficult not to be mesmerised by the playing of violinist Jennifer Pike in the next piece in the concert, Korngold’s violin concerto.
There is something wistfully melancholy about the delicately coloured first movement. Its subtleties were beautifully captured by Pike, while conductor Kwame Ryan gently urged his young musicians to accompany her with similar delicacy.
The second movement’s demands were deftly handled by Pike and the orchestra, while the helter-skelter final movement was played with controlled exuberance.
Pike told the audience that she had been inspired by the young players during rehearsals. This performance demonstrated that they had been inspired by her and had learnt much from her poised professionalism.
Most concerts these days include Ukrainian music. Pike chose a Ukrainian folk song for her encore which she played with the orchestra’s leader, Esme Lewis. It was quietly haunting.
1 August 2022
In the Violin Concerto of Korngold, Jennifer Pike shone, the gleam of a Hollywood veneer never far away. The composer had the privilege to be able to recycle film scores he had already written after fleeing Austria and making it to California. Pike soaks up the loving atmosphere of the three movements, the finale clearly from Robin Hood as it rolls along with a rompy air. Pike made the piece appear as child’s play, though I’m sure it has it’s technical moments of bravado. We don’t tend to hear enough Korngold, the delight of an encore was another work: the finale of his score to Captain Blood with Errol Flynn, a pirate party if ever there was one.
Get The Chance, The Hexagon
2 August 2022
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.
Claire Seymour, Seen and Heard International
Wigmore Hall recital, The Hexagon
27 January 2020
‘The soloist in Elgar’s work is entrusted to the British violinist Jennifer Pike. The woman in the flaming red dress is as virtuoso as she is sensitive to the considerable challenges of this “greatest violin concerto since Beethoven”, as the violinist Fritz Kreisler once said.
The interaction with Jennifer Pike works perfectly – the orchestra is both a dialogue partner and a subtle atmospheric painter. It forms sound spaces for the soloist, into which she can “sing” softly, tenderly, lyrically or in which she unfolds energetic self-confidence with insanely fast runs and double-stopping’
Elgar Violin Concerto, Staatsorchester Rheinische Philharmonie, Garry Walker
16th February 2020
Andreas Pecht, Rhein Zeitung
The English violinist Jennifer Pike is a regular visitor to Scotland and has already developed a striking career on the world stage. Her articulation and mastery intoning the graceful harmonies of Vaughan Williams’s delightful arrangements of folk tunes in The Lark Ascending was profoundly impressive and was well accompanied by the British conductor.
Gregor Tassie Seen and Heard International,
Britten-Shostakovich Festival Orchestra, Jan Latham-Koenig, Usher Hall Edinburgh, , The Hexagon
24 September 2019