Jennifer Pike

Jennifer Pike Plays Franck, Debussy & Ravel

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The violin and piano sonatas of Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel draw on foreign idioms: gypsy music in Debussy's case and African-American blues in Ravel's. But they remain completely French works, spiced with something exotic, and British violinist Jennifer Pike forges interpretations that keep this in mind. Start with the "Blues" slow movement of the Ravel Violin Sonata in G major: Pike and her accompanist, Martin Roscoe, avoid exaggerating the bluesy qualities of the music and instead emphasize the odd, almost tense disconnection between violin and piano that, combined with the languid blues melodies, gives this piece its special piquancy. In the entire Debussy sonata she works to create an improvisatory feeling, and her quiet but richly atmospheric performance makes this work come alive. The final Violin Sonata in A major by César Franck, a work that both Ravel and Debussy knew well and bounced off of in different directions, is also beautifully done, expanding hypnotically in the first movement from the stasis of the opening. Excellent studio engineering backs a recording that announces a major new talent.

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