Leighton Buzzard Music Club present Martyn Jackson and Alison Rhind: the Oxjam concert

Many entertainments could be enjoyed in Leighton Buzzard and Milton Keynes on Saturday the 22nd of March. Indeed, the Leighton Library car park was stuffed with the vehicles of those enjoying live music in both the Baptist Hall and the Library Theatre. What a shame one can’t be in more than one place at once!

In the Library Theatre I listened to this year’s Countess of Munster Musical Trust artiste – Martyn Jackson – accompanied by pianist Alison Rhind. Oh – and I should mention the third Lovely Thing present on the stage: Mr Jackson plays a Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume on loan to him from Frau Angela Schmeink. What a beautiful instrument and what luscious sounds Mr Jackson brought forth from it.

The first piece on the programme was Arcangelo Corelli’s 22 variations on ‘La Follia’. ‘La Follia’ is a Portugese dance tune popular around the end of the 17th century. Immediately it was clear that Mr Jackson was a man making muscular music of great light and shade with little fuss. The violinistic effects Corelli wrote allowed us to experience, right at the outset, the full range of his skill and talent. Breathless stuff.

He followed this with Beethoven’s Violin Sonata in A major, Op 47, the ‘Kreutzer’. During this, longer and less frenetic, work we had more time to appreciate Alison Rhind’s accompaniment: always of great musicality, alert to the needs of the violinist, bringing out the melody and nuances of her piano part. Movement II, the Presto, was surprisingly gypsyish. The Andante flowed dreamily, Mr Jackson demonstrating a nimble lightness within it while Ms Rhind conjured a big, mellow sound out of the piano. The final Presto was announced with a huge major chord from the piano, after which both instruments scampered off like cat and mouse producing, inter alia, a luscious, poignant melody: an irresistible finale!

There is a little story about the title of this Sonata which I cannot resist sharing. It was originally written for the mulatto violinist G P Bridgetower, who – with the composer – gave the first performance of it in 1803. Unfortunately Bridgetower and Beethoven fell out. Presumably Beethoven swept the sheet music out of Bridgetower’s hand and looked for another violinist to sell it to. Step up Mr Kreutzer. One assumes he paid for the ‘new’ piece, and it was duly dedicated to him. But when he came to work on it he is recorded as having exclaimed that it was an ‘outrageously incomprehensible composition’. And he never played it. He was wrong, and Bridgetower (who knew its worth) was robbed.

After the interval we were given Edward Elgar’s Violin Sonata in E minor, Op 82, which is only now becoming popular as a recital piece. This being Elgar and written in 1918 it is full of Romantic Gloom. What Elgar can do with Romantic Gloom is just too too glorious. And what these two did with Elgar was glorious too. Once again the Vuillaume made its spectacular presence felt. During the third movement of this piece I had such a strong sense of how a player makes love to his – or her – violin.

To finish the concert we were given a piece by a composer I hadn’t come across before – Henryk Wieniawski (1835 – 1880): his Fantasie brillante, on themes from Gounod’s opera Faust, Op 20. Wieniawski was himself a violinist, and wrote this piece to showcase everything the instrument and its player are capable of, drawing on the glorious tunes in Gounod’s Faust. It is acrobatic in the extreme, for both violin and piano. Mr Jackson played every inch of his Vuillaume: like the proverb about the pig, we got everything including the (tuneful) squeak. To give him a little respite the piano took over with a gentle, soulful tune. But, irrepressible, the violin rejoined and the two instruments wrapped each other in glorious melody, rising like larks. The end of the piece was so climactic that it would have been plain wrong to have asked for or been given an encore. And thus we filed out of the theatre, still enthralled. I hope I come across Wieniawski, Martyn Jackson, Alison Rhind and the glorious Vuillaume again. Together or severally. Soon.

If you want to know more about Martyn Jackson, this is probably the place to start – http://martynjackson.com/



Published by Judi Moore

Hi there, I hope you find something to interest you here. In December 2017 I published my fourth book – ‘Wonders will never cease’. It’s a satirical campus novel set in the fictional Ariel University in 1985. If you enjoyed Tom Sharpe’s Porterhouse novels, Willy Russell’s ‘Educating Rita’, David Lodge’s campus novels or Malcolm Bradbury’s ‘The History Man’ back in the day, you may enjoy revisiting the ivory towers of 1980s’ academe thirty years on. See what you think. “It is December, 1985. The year is winding gently towards its close until Fergus Girvan, a Classicist at Ariel University, finds his research has been stolen by the man who is also seeking to steal his daughter. But which man is, actually, the more unscrupulous of the two? And is there hope for either of them?” In the autumn of 2015 I published a volume of short fiction: 'Ice Cold Passion and other stories'. I am also the author of novella 'Little Mouse', a shortish piece of historical fiction which I published in 2014 and, a sequel to it, 'Is death really necessary?', my eco thriller set in the near future and which, confusingly, I published in 2009. All the books are available from all good online bookshops and FeedARead on paper, and as e-books on Kindle. On a semi-regular basis, and about a month after the event, I post here reviews which I do for Big Al & Pals, the premier reviewer of indie books, based in the States. My interests tend to thrillers, SF, magic realism and other quirky stuff. On this blog are also posted the reviews I did for Leighton Buzzard Music Club over some five years up to the end of 2015. LBMC present annual seasons of eight monthly chamber music concerts at the Library Theatre in Leighton Buzzard, Bucks. They select young musicians just beginning to make their name - and the concerts are usually magnificent. I was very proud to be associated with them. I review other music, books, theatre and exhibitions which I've particularly enjoyed. BTW - it says the link to Facebook is broken. I dispute that. Click it and see, why not?

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