"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."
"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."
"In The Lark Ascending Jennifer Pike soars aloft most bewitchingly and is ably partnered by Di Vittorio and company."
"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."
"With her sweet, singing tone and graceful
phrasing, (Jennifer Pike) walks in the footsteps of many
"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."
"Jennifer Pike's interpretation is dramatic, passionate and always nuanced....This performance is certain to become one of the great standard recordings."
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."
"The violin’s sense of rhapsodic lament – played with passionate intensity by the superb Jennifer Pike."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
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."
"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
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."
"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
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."
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."
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."
"it's a while since I've enjoyed a new recording of the Sibelius Violin Concerto as much as this!"
"The distinction of the performances is never in doubt."
16 June 2013
"...This disc is outstanding, notably for Jennifer Pike’s playing of the violin."
"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."
"A real front-runner for the Concert."
"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."
(Special Christmas Edition)
"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. "
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
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