Trevor Pinnock, Wigmore Hall, London

4.00

It was as a lively and stylish young solo harpsichordist that Trevor Pinnock first made his name in recital and on disc in the early 1970s.

It was as a lively and stylish young solo harpsichordist that Trevor Pinnock first made his name in recital and on disc in the early 1970s. For the next 30 years he was caught up in directing his pioneering period performance ensemble, The English Concert. But having bequeathed that distinguished outfit to Andrew Manze, he has increasingly returned to solo playing. This Wigmore Hall recital showed that he has lost none of his finesse, while expanding his musical range.

He began with a neatly worked Passacaglia from a suite by J K F Fischer - a German court composer 20 years older than J S Bach who seems to have borrowed an idea or two from him.

But Bach's own Partita No 5 in G BWV 829 - the "lightest" of the six though it may be - is so much more than merely neat. Pinnock emphasised its variety by imbuing the grace notes of its Sarabande with a delectably lazy rubato, and switching to the dry rattle of the harpsichord's buff stop to characterise the naughty cross-rhythm of the Tempo di Minuetta.

His instrument, a resplendent black, gold and terracotta two-manual modern model by Titus Crijnen of Bussum, had something of the sonorous gravity of a 17th-century harpsichord by Ruckers but with a wide range of stops.

In his brief spoken comments, Pinnock praised its adaptability to the very different styles of Bach, Handel, Rameau and Scarlatti. It also offered an effective vehicle for two recently commissioned pieces by the 36-year-old composer John Webb.

The first of these, entitled Ebb (2000), comprised a spasmodic discourse against a manic background of descending scale patterns like a kind of out-of-kilter change-ringing. Its companion piece, Surge (2003), was built up over an implacable rhythmic repeat-figure. Though neither was explicitly tonal, each skilfully avoided the merely percussive effect that the harpsichord's complex overtones can all too easily impart to more densely dissonant music. Toru Takemitsu's Rain Dreaming (1986), by contrast, proved a rather acidulated number from that usually more exquisite ear.

But the climax of the concert was Rameau's Suite in E minor, typically French in pushing the same dance genres as Bach to more picturesque ends. Here, Pinnock's bright precision in the filigree figuration of "Le Rappel des Oiseaux" for once justified the cliché "spine-tingling", while his drone-bassed "Musette" sounded as drugged with noonday heat as his rustic "Tambourin" was stampingly vigorous.

Finally, Pinnock relaxed into the floridly rolling periods of Handel's Prelude, Air and Variations (the so-called "Harmonious Blacksmith") from the Suite No 5 in E major - only to return for a perfectly judged account of Scarlatti's Sonata in E major K 380, with its pastoral trills and toy fanfares, by way of encore.

Arts and Entertainment
Nick Hewer is to leave The Apprentice after 10 years

TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice

Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says

film George RR Martin owns a cinema in Santa Fe

Arts and Entertainment
Clued up: John Lynch and Gillian Anderson in ‘The Fall’

TV review

Arts and Entertainment
The Baker (James Corden) struggles with Lilla Crawford’s Little Red Riding Hood

film...all the better to bamboozle us
Arts and Entertainment
English: Romantic Landscape

art
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Arts and Entertainment
William Pooley from Suffolk is flying out to Free Town, Sierra Leone, to continue working in health centres to fight Ebola after surviving the disease himself

music
Arts and Entertainment
The Newsroom creator Aaron Sorkin

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Berry (centre), the star of Channel 4 sitcom 'Toast of London'

TVA disappointingly dull denouement
Arts and Entertainment
Tales from the cryptanalyst: Benedict Cumberbatch in 'The Imitation Game'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pixie Lott has been voted off Strictly Come Dancing 2014

Strictly
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.

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas