An artist's impression

Flamboyant, arresting, lucid. The young cellist Richard Jenkinson gave a theatrical performance at his Wigmore Hall debut. By Robert Cowan

Tall, demonstrative, with blond flowing locks and a wide repertoire of theatrical gestures, 25-year-old cellist Richard Jenkinson personifies the earnest young virtuoso. His Monday debut recital at the Wigmore Hall saw him brandishing his bow, raising his left hand whenever he played an open string and gazing towards the roof light, deep in reverie. It was like seeing an "artist's impression" come to life. Martinu was originally to have opened the show, but changed places with Schumann at the last minute. The lovely Drei Fantasiestucke were treated to a lucid, though somewhat stylised, interpretation, suavely shaped rather than particularly lyrical.

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.

Arts and Entertainment

game of thrones reviewWarning: spoilers

Arts and Entertainment
The original Star Wars trio of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill

George Osborne confirms Star Wars 8 will film at Pinewood Studios in time for 4 May

film

Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’

North London meets The Exorcist in eerie suburban drama

TV

Arts and Entertainment

Filming to begin on two new series due to be aired on Dave from next year

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Kit Harington plays MI5 agent Will Holloway in Spooks: The Greater Good

'You can't count on anyone making it out alive'film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before