Beautiful recital from violinists

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Second 2017 autumn series lunchtime concert at St George’s URC, Morpeth.

Violinists Jessica Graham and Karen Wigham were the latest musicians to appear in a lunchtime concert at St George’s United Reformed Church.

Both young women live in Morpeth and have a vast background of musical experience.

Jessica trained at the Northern College of Music and has worked as a freelance violinist in many famous orchestras, including the Halle, The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic and Opera North.

She has also toured extensively around the world.

Karen trained at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and has performed with various orchestras and chamber groups throughout the North of England. She is currently Director Of Music at West Jesmond School.

Their programme was varied, but the main two works dated from the baroque period.

Vivaldi’s concerto for two violins in D minor is a demanding piece, but Jessica and Karen gave a superb rendering, which was both confident and stylish.

Their playing was most distinctive, with the calm and measured tread so prominent in music of the period very evident.

The Bach Double Concerto for Two Violins in C Minor ended the concert.

This work is typical Bach, with long, flowing passages in the first and third movements.

The middle adagio has a beautiful slow melody, which brought to the fore the enchanting sounds of the two violins playing in perfect harmony.

The sprightly allegro of the final movement brought the piece to a thrilling conclusion.

Between the two main works of the concert there were three showstoppers.

John William’s theme from Schindler’s List, played by Karen was delightful.

The haunting, sombre theme of this popular piece was fully exploited and played with a wonderful deep and rich tone.

Jessica, in a total contrast, played banjo and fiddle by William Kroll.

This piece moves at a frantic speed, apart from a slow, moving central section. The frantic theme once again takes over and brings the piece to a breathtaking conclusion.

Jessica produced vituoso playing of the highest order in an outstanding performance.

The final piece, Lollipops, was a miscellany of short, popular tunes arranged for two violins by Jessica. The six pieces ranging from pop music to films proved to be hugely entertaining and the audience reacted in a most positive manner.

Throughout the concert, Ken Irvine provided expert backing on the piano. He goes about his business in a calm and assured way and visiting musicians must be confident to know they have such a a dedicated professional in support.

The next concert, on Wednesday, November 15, will feature two young sopranos from Durham University.

BCP