Jennifer Pike (violin) with Martin Roscoe (piano)

A memorable evening in December was the occasion for one of the best concerts Cockermouth Music Society has ever promoted in its 21 year history. Jennifer Pike, violinist and Martin Roscoe, pianist, who have both given great concerts for the Society in the past, played with a passion and commitment which had everyone on the edge of their seats. They started with a Beethoven Sonata (Op.12, No 3 in E flat) which requires an equal partnership from both players, big music in every sense. Then came a stunning performance of Vaughan Williams’ Lark Ascending, a moment in musical history when the composer was at his most inspired. Jennifer’s innate musical sense was heard in every note of this wonderful piece, so evocative of the soaring bird as it rises to the heavens. I have heard this piece played well many times but Jennifer’s musicianship, superb technique and ability to imbue the music with an ethereal and heart felt quality made it something so special that this for me was the best performance I can remember hearing. The violinist then went on to give Kreisler’s Praeludium and Allegro a gripping performance, the excitement maintained throughout, seemingly effortless in every difficult technical passage and with a grasp of tempo which seemed just right, aided by the sterling qualities of Martin Roscoe’s great piano accompanying which matched Jennifer in every detail. Dvorak’s Four Romantic Pieces were given wonderful treatment, soaring cantabile singing through each one, and then we had a complete contrast with Rozsa’s Variations on a Hungarian Peasant Song (Op.4). The variations test the violinist’s technique to the full, but Jennifer’s control never faltered and the tone quality and general musical content from both performers were at all times all that could be desired. Jennifer’s poise and grace are all part of her charm and her ability to speak about each piece in a succinct and clear way is also to be applauded. When Jennifer won the Young Musician of the Year competition at the age of twelve the judges certainly made the right choice and to hear that musical ability coming to fruition in such a wonderful way was a privilege for the audience in Cockermouth which we shall all long remember.