The Lark Ascending


The Strad Recommends

April 2017

The Strad Recommends

"Jennifer Pike opens The Lark Ascending with delicacy and grace, her vibrato contained and expressive. As she moves into the first melody, that vibrato occasionally stops altogether, leaving pure, expressive notes within the exquisite soundscape. This whole first section is a masterclass in how to structure an extended musical paragraph. The young players of the Chamber Orchestra of New York then come into their own with some fine solo playing, particularly from the flute, as Pike pirouettes lissomly around them (the recording is clear and well balanced). Her playing is clean and fluent, each note perfectly focused and placed. Her double-stopped allargando phrases weaving down in 5ths (mostly) are magical. She has the gift of making time stand still, even as the music flows forwards. The final cadenza is sublime, as the Lark ascends to top B and disappears. This is the last work on the disc, as it should be: no one would want to hear anything else after that." Tim Homfray



BBC Music Magazine

February 2017

****

"With so many recordings of The Lark Ascending available, a new one has to offer something special to soar clear of the crowd. Jennifer Pike’s playing – at once forthright and beautifully yearning, with technique to match – puts her contribution into that category." **** Malcolm Hayes



The Gramophone

February 2017

"In The Lark Ascending Jennifer Pike soars aloft most bewitchingly and is ably partnered by Di Vittorio and company." Andrew Achenbach



Mendelssohn Violin Concerto


The Observer

January 2016

****

"Jennifer Pike allies the luminous beauty of her tone to her innate musicality and mercurial technique to produce an exceptionally lyrical interpretation of the evergreen Violin Concerto in E minor." **** Stephen Pritchard



BBC Music Magazine

March 2016

****

"With her sweet, singing tone and graceful phrasing, (Jennifer Pike) walks in the footsteps of many illustrious predecessors." **** Roger Nichols



Classic FM

January 2016

"Superb new recording....Pike's lyrical performance clearly demonstrates that she has been performing this piece for many years. Her phrasing shows she knows this work inside out and has discovered all of its ethereal subtlety and beauty."



Music Web International

January 2016

"Jennifer Pike's interpretation is dramatic, passionate and always nuanced....This performance is certain to become one of the great standard recordings." John France



The Sunday Herald

20 March 2016

"I’m tempted to have an open-hearted rave-up about the latest disc (Volume Four) in Chandos’ Mendelssohn in Birmingham series... There is no concerto more-loved than Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto. It is one of the most-familiar of early Romantic Violin Concertos, multiply-recorded and staple fare in the repertoire. It is so familiar it has become almost hackneyed. Edward Gardner and Jennifer Pike have given it a re-think and complete re-fit... I felt I was hearing it for the first time. Pike’s playing sings the concerto: it is breathtakingly beautiful, and the sophistication of orchestral thinking and playing is out of this world." Michael Tumelty



David Bednall Stabat Mater


The Gramophone

September 2016

Editor's Choice

"The violin’s sense of rhapsodic lament – played with passionate intensity by the superb Jennifer Pike." Malcolm Riley



Bach to Moog


The Gramophone

June 2015

"Ably supported by Sinfonietta Cracovia and with Pike so obviously getting the project, Leon manages to leave you with the sense you’re hearing this music for the first time and having an absolute ball into the bargain." William Yeoman



Janacek, Dvorak and Suk: Music for Violin and Piano


The Strad

January 2015

"A rewarding recital of highways and byways of Czech violin music. Both players balance rustic folk flavour with ample lyricism, delicacy, brilliance and range of tonal colouring. Pike's playing...throughout is full of poise, strength and sound judgement." Edward Bhesania



The Gramophone

October 2014

"by turns intimate, consoling and confiding - and always beautifully controlled...Pike and Poster make a great double-act...A fine recording and informative notes complete an enticing disc."



International Record Review

October 2014

"I found myself more and more enchanted by Pike's sound, which I hope will be emulated by up-and-coming violinists as something to wonder at." Mark Tanner



Sibelius Violin Concerto


The Herald

23 March 2014

"Here is an absolute whopper of a disc from Chandos. If you are an addict of Sibelius's Violin Concerto, you might already possess many recorded versions. Do not doubt and do not hesitate to add this one to your collection. Jennifer Pike plays it with all the urgency, passion and immediacy of the young woman she is. In the great slow movement, this translates into a kind of molten intensity which - at the end, as the violin curls skyward while the magnificent strings of the Bergen Philharmonic softly pulse away - will break your heart... Get it now." Michael Tumelty



BBC Music Magazine

May 2014

*****

"One of the finest ever actual recordings, the richness and clarity of SACD sound revealing a wealth of detail and scale from the superb Bergen orchestra, and giving Jennifer Pike's violin a tremendous sense of presence. And she plays it with impressive mastery" ***** Michael Scott Rohan



The Times

12 April 2014

"This is an exceptionally fine reading of a testing concerto from a young British prodigy who has been unfussily maturing into a compelling violinist. She catches the sinuous ethereality of Sibelius's vision, and the loneliness as well, but there's plenty of passion where it matters and tremendous technical skill. The Bergen Philharmonic and Andrew Davis also offer a kind of Your Hundred Best Sibelius Tunes, including Karelia and Finlandia." Richard Morrison



The Strad

June 2014

Featured Recommendation

The Strad

"“This sequence of unashamed Sibelius classics deserves the success it is sure to receive. Aged only 24, Jennifer Pike has an unwavering command of the Concerto and a keen grasp of its elemental power. The long climax that closes the first movement is driven by both Pike and Davis with inexorable momentum. The first theme of the slow movement is played is a huge melodic outpouring, richly vibrant at the lower end with subtle but telling portamentos. Pike finds a range of colours across the violin's register and lovingly voices her double-stops, no matter what the speed. Her gliding harmonics in the finale are both pristinely in tune and deftly elided... a gutsy and mature reading. A disk with popular appeal and unquestionable substance." Edward Bhesania



Mail on Sunday

30 March 2014

*****

"CD of the Week. Jennifer + Sibelius = violin genius... Her remarkable progress continues with her beautifully poised account of the Sibelius Violin Concerto... she draws a gleaming silvery tone of great purity." ***** David Mellor



The Telegraph

22 March 2014

****

"Of special note here is a gripping interpretation of the Violin Concerto by Jennifer Pike. The concerto's technical hurdles are surmounted consummately, but, even more important, Pike delves into the substance of the music to project its distinctive traits of emotional expression. The chill rhapsodising start gives way to shifts of darkness and light... Intensity, strength and malleability of tone, breadth of line and firmly focused bravura coalesce in the central Adagio and in the fearsome virtuosity of the finale, always underpinned by secure, stylistically aware musicianship." **** Geoffrey Norris



Classic FM Magazine

17 March 2014

"A brilliant performance from a bright young star of the violin... Jennifer Pike, one of the finest violinists performing today. She brings flair, passion and a burgeoning maturity to Sibelius's great concerto."



CD Review, BBC Radio 3

March 2014

"it's a while since I've enjoyed a new recording of the Sibelius Violin Concerto as much as this!" Andrew McGregor (CD Review)



Brahms & Schumann Sonatas, Clara Schumann Romances


BBC Music Magazine

May 2013

*****

"The distinction of the performances is never in doubt." *****



Chausson Concert


Daily Telegraph

16 June 2013

"...This disc is outstanding, notably for Jennifer Pike’s playing of the violin." Michael Kennedy



BBC Music Magazine

April 2013

*****

"Violinist Jennifer Pike, pianist Tom Poster and the Doric String Quartet have done much more than scratch the surface of this piece...it is their handling of the gradually building tension in the slow movement, from disquiet to impassioned pleading via reflection and agitation, that marks it out as an especially fine performance." *****



The Gramophone

2013

"A real front-runner for the Concert." Harriet Smith



Miklós Rósza: Violin Concerto


BBC Music Magazine

December 2012

*****

"Jennifer Pike immediately evokes memories of Heifetz with her silver purity of sound and quicksilver agility, inflected by a narrow, medium-fast vibrato. What sets her apart, however, is the gentle cushioning of her lifted strokes, her enhanced dynamic range and radiantly seductive playing during the more lyrical episodes. Where Heifetz verges on the relentless in his virtuoso intensity and brilliance, Pike gives us more light and shade, especially welcome in the finale's playful dance rhythms, making this her finest recording yet." ***** Julian Haylock (Special Christmas Edition)



International Record Review

November 2012

"Miklos Rozsa wrote his Violin Concerto for Jascha Heifetz. Heifetz's performance is incomparable, but it's also well over half a century old and is beginning to sound its age. This brand-new version in sumptuous modern sound has the gifted young British soloist Jennifer Pike with the BBC Philharmonic and Rumon Gamba. Pike plays with an ideal blend of lyricism and technical assurance, her sense of singing lines brings out the rhapsodic eloquence of Rozsa's writing in this work most winningly and she's very well partnered by the BBC orchestra and Gamba. Any collector looking for a thoroughly persuasive modern version of this lovely concerto need to look no further. Pike's way with this music is exceptionally satisfying. " Nigel Simeone



Open Letters Monthly

October 2012

"CD of the week: "This new interpretation by the young British violinist Jennifer Pike is the most appealing I have heard since Heifetz. Pike is terrific with the opening movement fireworks and tender in the gorgeous Lento movement. The furious Hungarian rhythms of the finale belong to Bartok, whom Rózsa knew well. At times, the concerto feels like the work of an equal master." Norman Lebrecht



Miklós Rózsa: Variations on a Hungarian Peasant Song


The Gramophone

2011

"Rozsa was equally impressive in variations, as the diverse and colourful Variations on a Hungarian Peasant Song demonstrates. It features a concertante solo violin, the seductive Jennifer Pike, who is equally impressive in both the virtuosity and sweet lyricism of her solo role...These are four first-rate works by a still neglected composer, marvellously played and recorded." Ivan March



Debussy, Ravel and Franck Sonatas


Muso

September 2011

****

"From the first notes of Frank, her tone is gorgeously thick and rich and, in the piece's frantic challenging second movement, almost itchy and prickly with heat. Her handling of the middle of the Debussy is a pleasure." **** Laura Sylvester



Classic FM

June 2011

*****

"The most striking aspect of this challenging recital is Jennifer Pike's fearless exploration of the violin's lower dynamic range. French music is all about colour and here she reveals radiant hues and patinas that most players leave hidden under layers of interpretative accretion...Pike's dazzling interpretative flair and exemplary technique combine to create one of the most outstanding debut violin albums of recent years." *****



Daily Telegraph

12 May 2011

****

"thoroughly idiomatic, glistening performances of three core French violin sonatas. This is playing that brims with character, bringing a smoky seductiveness to the finale of the Debussy. Franck's A-major sonata is given with plenty of passion tempered by winning finesse in dynamics and tonal shading." **** Geoffrey Norris



BBC Music Magazine

May 2011

****

"Pike finds much to relish in [the three sonatas], not only in her beautiful singing tone, but also in moments of hushed mystery... Debussy's multiple gear-changes, Ravel's jazz-inflected musings and Franck's intense emotions are negotiated with ease. She experiments beguilingly with varied tone colours...indeed there are numerous places where Pike has inspiring timbral ideas... These engaging performances of all three works bode well for the next steps in Pike's career.”" **** Christopher Dingle



International Record Review

April 2011

"Pike's playing is muscular, her intonation immaculate. She plays a 1708 Goffriller, which has a pleasantly dark sound when required. She discovers the right mix of fantasy and nostalgia in Debussy's late Sonata...this is a most impressive debut recital disc, presenting a fully fledged artist who has much to communicate through her expressive playing." Mark Pullinger



The Gramophone

2011

"this is a recital that is full of interest. Jennifer Pike and Martin Roscoe's performance of the Debussy is particularly fine; in a work where character and style are so important, they never disappoint - the brilliant passages dispatched with gusto, the grotesque moments given their due and the slinky, sensual episodes suitably alluring....There is a similar ability to weld disparate material into a strong discourse in the Recitativo-Fantasia movement in the Franck - its closing pages are captivatingly poetic." Duncan Druce



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