An artist's impression
Flamboyant, arresting, lucid. The young cellist Richard Jenkinson gave a theatrical performance at his Wigmore Hall debut. By Robert Cowan
Friday 03 May 1996
The Latvian-born American pianist Robert Kulek offered Jenkinson a discreet accompaniment, but made a far stronger impression in Martinu's Third Sonata (1952), a glorious piece, out-going, sun-drenched (the opening movement especially) and with an upbeat, bluesy finale that would make fine "encore" material in its own right. Here both Jenkinson and Kulek captured the spirit of the piece to a tee - more so, perhaps, than in Debussy's late Cello Sonata, where, although fairly responsive to play and caprice (Jenkinson is a dab hand at characterful pizzicatos), they didn't quite connect with the first movement's interior musings.
After the interval, Jenkinson scaled down his handsome (though occasionally discoloured) tone to admirable effect for Martin Ellerby's Epitaph IV: Lux Aeterna (Lidice), a touching meditation that recalled the wartime Czechs' brave attempt to assassinate "Reichsprotektor" Reinhard Heydrich and the Nazis' revenge killing of a whole village. Ellerby had visited a church where, as he himself explained (in his own programme note), "Heydrich's assailants were finally tracked and killed"; he imagined the last two survivors trapped in a room and looking towards a narrow shaft of light - so it may be that recollections of Debussy's "Cathedrale engloutie" (most apparent in the opening measures) weren't entirely accidental. The closing moments were especially poignant in their veiled acknowledgement of light within a context of terrible darkness.
Brahms came next, his E minor Sonata, a fairly robust reading that was somewhat short on inflectional variety from the cellist and tonal weight from the pianist.
The recital's official last item, however, found Jenkinson and Kulek enjoying themselves with Buxton Orr's ingenious A Carmen Fantasy, a dazzling array of themes from Bizet's opera (just about every one you could think of) slipped into a variety of roles, from main melody to accompaniment and passage-work (Escamillo made an especially sly entrance). It was all Robert Cohen's idea, prompted by the violin Carmen Fantasy that Franz Waxman wrote for Heifetz.
Jenkinson relished every bar and so did the audience - which made an encore inevitable. But rather than string together two or three brief pot-boilers, Jenkinson returned us to Martinu with a substantial - though still light-hearted - set of Variations on a theme of Rossini. It was a brilliant, bizarre affair that responded well to Jenkinson's flamboyant stage personality.
His manner is arresting, his technique potentially accommodating: give him time to mellow, and he'll surely become a significant presence in our musical life.
Jeff Fletcher found fame in 1990s
'At times I thought he was me'film
Review: One Direction, Fourmusic
Review: The World of Ice and Firebooks
Film More romcom than S&M
Review: The Imitation Gamefilm
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by police in Ohio park
- 2 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 3 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 4 Naked free runner captured in breathtaking photographs above London's streets
- 5 Manchester United named Premier League's loudest fans despite late push by Chelsea according to 'Smart Meter' app
Hitler painting sells for 130,000 euros at auction despite controversy over Nazi dictator's artworks
Strictly Come Dancing results: Steve Backshall sent home after dance off with Sunetra Sarker
Naked free runner captured in breathtaking photographs above London's streets
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking leaked clip of Lana Del Rey rape video
Band Aid 30: 'Do They Know It's Christmas' storms to number one
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Green Party Caroline Lucas interview: 'We could be on the edge of something very big'