Reviews

 

Stuart House Newsletter December 2015

The audience’s clear appreciation of the quality of the afternoon’s performance was demonstrated by the loud and extended applause

A capacity audience filled the room for Jonathan’s performance and created a warm and responsive atmosphere. Jonathan played a wide-ranging programme starting with Bach and ending with the romanticism of Chopin.

He started with two of Bach’s preludes and fugues from the Well-Tempered Clavier, demonstrating both the major and minor moods. Jonathan excellently showed the incredible precision of Bach with the endless variety of counterpoint and different fugal voices. Then he played a very different kind of Prelude and Fugue composed by Alwyn in 1945 but only published in 2014. It was an amazing experience to hear the same form as Bach but used to create a romantic and emotional mood. This prelude and fugue now forms part of the Grade 8 piano set pieces for the Associated Board.

Then we moved on to hear an early Sonata in C by Mozart. Apparently he wrote these early pieces to demonstrate his own playing ability. Although Jonathan was not wearing a wig, as Mozart would have done, he also showed his very considerable musical and technical abilities in this performance.

Next came six Lyric Pieces by Grieg. These delightful pieces descriptively represented their individual titles, such as Sommerfugl ( Butterfly ), Ensom Vandrer ( Solitary Traveller ) and Ti Varen ( To the Spring ). The romantic diversity of Grieg’s compositional ability was clearly shown in Jonathan’s interpretation.

He ended the performance with a dazzling version of Chopin’s spectacular Scherzo in B Minor. This piece is not to be tackled by anyone without a virtuosic ability as it dramatically covers the whole keyboard with combinations of massive chords, dramatic runs and lyrical sections. The audience’s clear appreciation of the quality of the afternoon’s performance was demonstrated by the loud and extended applause, as a result of which Jonathan was lured back in to play a calming and gentle encore.

 

A large number of contented audience members then enjoyed the afternoon tea, coffee and biscuits provided afterwards by Stuart House.

 

 

This was altogether a highly successful finale to this year’s series of concerts. Although Jonathan has now moved away from Cornwall to South Somerset, we are delighted and grateful that he still plans to return to Cornwall to give concerts a few times a year.

Angela Wunnam

The Voice 2015

A MUSICAL CELEBRATION WITH A FRENCH THEME IN AN ENGLISH CHURCH

A concert held in St Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, on Sunday 27th September, had an all French Theme.

The concert was part of an ongoing series of events held by the Friends of Crewkerne Church who raise funds for the maintenance of the church building.

The concert featured Jonthan Delbridge, a highly talented concert pianist who has recently located to Crewkerne from Cornwall. Jonathan was supported by three very experienced musicians: Oliver Doney (counter-tenor), Morag Thompson-Findlay ( soprano) and Helen Lunt (cello). All the performers have strong West Country connections.

The featured pieces in the concert were all by French composers and included songs by Faure, piano pieces by Satie and Debussy, cello and piano pieces by Saint-Saens, as well as other pieces by Couperin and Massenet. The variety of styles and the excellence of the delivery by all the performers ensured a fascinating and highly enjoyable range of musical experiences for the audience.

Jonathan rounded off the concert with a rousing Fantasie on the Westminster Chimes by Vierne played on the St Bartholomew's organ.

The French theme of course carried over to the refreshments on offer: wine and canapés!

Liz Dennis

The Voice 2015

SHOWING OFF OUR ORGAN

On the wet, windy and cold Sunday afternoon of 22nd February about 60 friends and congregation members of St Bartholomew's Church were treated to an exciting and very entertaining organ recital by the young and talented Jonathan Delbridge. The title of the concert A Confounded Box of Whistles is also the name of Jonathan's recent album of organ music. The programme demonstrated both the colour and dynamic range of the Church's fine Rothwell organ and the variety of music playable on such an instrument. The programme covered many pieces including those by J.S Bach, Handel, Harrison and Fats Waller. Jonathan introduced the items with interesting and amusing anecdotes and facts, fully engaging with the audience. The recital was followed by an excellent selection of sandwiches and cakes and tea provided by volunteers of Friends of Crewkerne Church. We hope very much that Jonathan will be able to offer another concert in the future. This event raised £254 towards the funds for church repairs.

 

Liz Dennis

 

Stuart House Newsletter 2014

Altogether a glorious hour-plus of music, beautifully played – so musical as well as virtuosic - and helpfully introduced.

The last concert of the year in Stuart House’s Sunday afternoon series organized by Angela Wunnam, was a delightful occasion. We were again very pleased to welcome Jonathan Delbridge, who has done so much for music in Liskeard in recent years. He spoke of being glad to be back in the intimate atmosphere of Stuart House’s Gallery, where he was able to feel a real contact with his audience.

The varied programme, played on Jonathan’s Yamaha    CP5    stage    piano,    began    with Rachmaninov’s dramatic Prelude in C! minor which the composer apparently got very fed up with - though we weren’t!    This was followed, after a helpful introduction to the complexities of equal temperament and J.S.Bach’s intentions, by two of that composer’s exacting and mesmerizing preludes and fugues from Book 1 of the Well- Tempered Clavier – no.5 in D major and no.2 in C minor. The three-movement Mozart B! sonata was delicate yet exciting, with Scott Joplin’s Bethena Waltz (requested in advance by an audience member) and more familiar Maple Leaf Rag forming an interesting contrast afterwards. There followed three short Chopin waltzes: Op.64 no.2 in C! minor, Op.34 no.2 in A minor, and lastly the famous Op.42 ‘Minute Waltz’ - which took a little longer than a minute, as Jonathan promised it would – why rush? – and anyway Chopin never called it that!

Less well known but, as Jonathan said, “wonderful piano music”, was John Ireland’s tremendously evocative April (“no November available”!), and this was followed by Grieg’s Arietta and the Fairy Dance, the concert concluding with Percy Granger’s Molly on the Shore, which he had dedicated to Grieg. The audience was unwilling to let Jonathan go without an encore, and Schumann”s ‘Träumerei’ (Kinderszenen no.7) was simply lovely.

Altogether a glorious hour-plus of music, beautifully played – so musical as well as virtuosic - and helpfully introduced. This was followed by the usual tea and biscuits and chance to socialize as well as to talk about the concert and things arising from it. A memorable afternoon - thank-you, Jonathan.

Rachel Bennett



Review of concert at Pillaton Church 2014

We were entertained by an exciting programme of organ music ranging from Bach to Fats Waller plus a wonderful rendition of Trelawney which Jonathan had prepared for the Royal Albert Hall organ – and sounded great on ours as well.

A magical evening was held at Pillaton on the Thursday before Remembrance weekend when the church was decked with poppies. A fabulous feast was provided by Shirley Floyd in the Village Hall and then we were all treated to an evening of organ magic by Jonathan Delbridge, based on the repertoire of his latest recording ‘A Confounded Box of Whistles’.

This was the very first time that an organ recital has ever taken place in this historic church, consecrated by Bishop Bronscombe in 1259. Until last year, the organists have struggled with a ‘domestic’ Victorian parlour organ donated by the great local house – Newton Ferrers- some 100 years ago and long past its prime.

Following the catastrophic lighting strike of January 2013, which rendered the inside of the church like a wartime blitz site, the organ was beyond repair; insurance plus parishioner donations allowed a replacement organ to be bought – on e-bay from Yorkshire. Jonathan called it a ‘fantastic digital instrument’ and ‘one of the very best that I have encountered’.

We were entertained by an exciting programme of organ music ranging from Bach to Fats Waller plus a wonderful rendition of Trelawney which Jonathan had prepared for the Royal Albert Hall organ – and sounded great on ours as well.

An evening which will be long remembered in the village!

Tony Rowe

Evening Herald 2010

There was his natural delivery and highly-accomplished piano playing, from Debussy and John Ireland to a Bill Evans jazz standard.

There’s invariably something special about concerts at Plymouth’s Emmanuel Church, with their wide variety of musical styles, and warm, welcoming atmosphere.

But the jewel in the crown must surely be their use of multimedia technology, where close-up video shots of the artists, punctuated by tastefully chosen slides, are projected onto a big screen. It really brings everything to life so dramatically.

Jonathan Delbridge fitted the bill to perfection. There was his natural delivery and highly-accomplished piano playing, from Debussy and John Ireland to a Bill Evans jazz standard.

Swapping the piano stool for the organ bench, he put the church’s fine instrument through its paces, with a not overlong, but highly appropriate selection, culminating in an exciting performance of Widor’s Toccata.

It was all designed to show off the organ’s best features, and the chance to watch Jonathan’s nimble footwork up close on the big screen was an added bonus.

Soprano, Bianca Phillips, provided the ideal vocal complement, equally at home in Franck’s Panis Angelicus, numbers from Carousel and some delightful jazz items, which all confirmed the clear musical empathy between these two talented and most personable young artists.

And with Britten’s Tell me the Truth about Love, an intriguing take on Jabberwocky by American art-song composer, Lee Hoiby, and Sesame Street’s Rubber Ducky, this was a most enjoyable evening’s entertainment in which the now-legendary interval refreshments not surprisingly played their part, too.

Philip R Buttall

 


Cornish Times Letters Page

Amazingly Talented

“Cancer Research UK recently held a charity concert at Riverside Church, West Looe, a concert with music for piano and organ, presented by an amazingly talented young man named Jonathan Delbridge.

It was entertainment at its finest, the audience were mesmerised.

Jonathan played a variety of music and at the conclusion the audience clapped vigorously for an encore.

He invited participation by asking for a song that he could improvise and Over the Rainbow was suggested.

Over the Rainbow played on a digital organ, what can I say, it was just incredible. If stating that Jonathan made that organ sing is not politically correct, then being perfectly honest, I do not really care. He was that evening, and is, a pure genius.”


Cornish Times
Another Success for Local Pianist

Meticulous playing, and an understanding of all 18 pieces performed, earned warm applause from the audience of over 100.”


Western Morning News

Magical Evening at St Petroc’s Church, Bodmin

An audience of over 100 sat silent and spellbound as Jonathan interpreted the music with passion and touch. The appreciation of the audience at the end of each piece was loud and long.”