Tom Pickles - Cellist

September 17, 2021

At last, on Friday 17th September, the members of the Shipston Music Society were able to meet and what a wonderful feeling it was to listen to live music-making again. Our recitalist was the cellist Tom Pickles who, after his visit in 2019, has won more acclaim as a talented performer both here and in Europe.

The programme began with the Allegro Appassionato by Saint-Saens which immediately displayed Tom’s technical skills. With his accompanist Charles Matthews – well known to Shipston audiences – this was a partnership of the highest level with superb synchronisation. The “Romance” by Delius followed, with its beautiful legato melody providing a gentle contrast before the Sonata no. 1 by Francis Routh, a present day composer. Immediately we were impressed by the complexity, rhythmic content and the tonal aspect of this 21st century piece. It was obvious that they had great fun playing this piece together. Six Studies in English Folksongs by Ralph Vaughan Williams brought us gently to the interval.

The Cello Suite no. 1 by J. S. Bach is part of the classic repertoire for advanced performers and requires a high level of technical and interpretive ability which Tom had no problem in displaying. After Sonata for Solo cello by Francis Routh, The Prelude by Ernest Moeran introduced a peaceful atmosphere and demonstrated the beautiful sonorous tone quality of Tom’s playing. Finally, Max Bruch’s Kol Nidrei completed the programme. Wistful and yearning in the introductory section, this was soon to be overshadowed by an angry loud chordal section. The very high level of technical ability required for this demonstrated why the accompanying skills of Charles are in such demand.

The Cradle Song by Frank Bridge was a fitting encore to an evening of music performed with feeling, superb technical ability and obvious enjoyment.

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