George Wilkes & Charles Matthews

April 12, 2024

One of the pleasures of being a long-term member of the Music Society is the fact that from time to time you see returning musicians.  When that musician happens to be a child and they return several times as they grow up, you see their progression and maturity developing and it is a delight. 

In April this very thing happened and, in front of a large audience which included members of his Shipston based family, what a treat of an evening it was.

George originally played at one of our annual Young Musicians’ concerts some years ago as a young schoolboy.  Since then, he has been back from time to time and he is now a postgraduate music student studying in Brussels, so we were more than delighted to be able to take advantage of his Easter break to invite him to plays in our April concert.

His programme opened with Dvorak’s Waldesruhe op 68 no 5 an evocative and descriptive piece reflecting the “Silent Woods” of the composer’s homeland.  Next came the Bach Suite no 1 in G major which will have been well known to many in the audience, and allowed us to truly appreciate the player and his instrument as he progressed through the seven parts of the Suite, ending with the lively Gigue.  

The second half opened with Beethoven’s Cello Sonata no 4 in C major.  This piece which comprises two movements perhaps unexpectedly appeared to give almost equal prominence to the piano, played by Charles Matthews, alongside the cello.

Finally, we heard Ernest Bloch’s three pieces which make up his From Jewish Life movements. These were played in the order Prayer, Supplication, Jewish Song.  The cello reflects so well the emotions contained in these pieces and the audience could not fail to have been moved by the melancholy of the music which resonates so much in these troubled times.       After some prolonged applause, the audience were treated to Vocalise by Rachmaninov, again a deeply emotional piece for cello and piano.

It was indeed a pleasure to welcome George Wilkes back to Shipston, this time so ably supported by Charles Matthews on the piano, and we look forward to reprising the evening in the future and of course to watching the career of this brilliant young musician.

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