Press cuttings-Jonathan Delbridge
Review of Bach Organ Concert - 25 March 2018:
Something about the image of the organist alone in his organ loft, invisible to the congregation, yet entirely wrapped up in communing with God through the sounds he can produce, irresistibly summons the image of JS Bach in the Thomaskirche in Leipzig...The organist of all performers shares something with the composer – being isolated from the audience and alone with his muse.
However Jonathan is a great communicator and emerged from his eyrie after each piece to introduce with his customary enthusiasm the items in the programme.
After the Prelude in G BWV 568, from which the fugue has apparently been lost – or never existed -Jonathan proceeded to a fascinating exploration of the infinitely subtle palette available to the skilled organist by way of the four movement Pastorella in which Jonathan explored a range of colours and shades rarely heard from this ‘King of Instruments’. In fact it was this piece more than any other reminded me of that description. We all know the thunderous capabilities of the instrument in full flood but rarely get exposed to its more intimate capabilities.
The Toccata, Adagio & Fugue in C is a fascinating work. The opening Toccata moves by fits and starts as though the composer is trying to make up his mind what to do next. Then there is an extended passage for foot pedals alone which I have to say I would have given my eye tooth to watch ...how one set of feet could produce such a cascade of sound beggars belief.
One of the things that came home to me over this weekend is Bach’s incredible sense of humour – and the fugue that concludes this piece is positively jolly, though none the less demanding to play & superbly executed on this occasion.
The 3 chorale preludes made me reflect that almost everything Bach wrote sounds like an act of prayer.
The Toccata in D Minor was a fitting conclusion to the festival (though I have to admit I had no idea there was any doubt whether Bach even wrote it!) Jonathan provided a finely articulated performance so we could hear a great deal more of the notes than is often the case
I left the church into a beautiful spring evening (something we haven’t seen much of this year) and reflecting how lucky we’ve been to have such a wonderful festival of music not only celebrating JS Bach but preparing us for the miracle of Easter.
Kingsbridge and Salcombe Gazette - 17 October 2017
Jonathan Delbridge played into the night at Salcombe Holy Trinity Church
Jonathan Delbridge graced Salcombe with his musical talent with ‘A Musical Celebration of England’ showcasing some of the greats.
The Holy Trinity Church welcomed the renowned musician, accompanist and choir director for the sixth Ken Reed Concert, bringing classical music fans from across Salcombe.
Jonathan has gained a brilliant reputation for his exciting and varied concert programmes on both the piano and the organ. His versatile talent allows him to perform major classical works, jazz standards and his own improvisations, most of which he performed without his sheet music.
The Royal Albert Hall musician is in high demand working as an accompanist with leading professionals including virtuoso trumpeter Crispian Steele-Perkins, bass Arwell Huw Morgan and clarinettist/saxophonist David White.
The evening started with a greatly appreciated glass of bubbly and canapés before the performance commenced.
Despite not reaching full capacity, before long the majority of chairs were filled with avid fans of this classical genre, who waited patiently for Jonathan to appear.
After the well known introduction piece, the Dambusters March by Coates, Jonathan came down to introduce himself to the audience and explain the structure of his performance.
He explained why he’d chosen each piece of music, when it was composed and some interesting details about who had composed the piece; allowing the audience to fully relax and enjoy the evening.
The use of a variety of well known and lesser known pieces was a clever artistic choice, leaving the audience content and intrigued by new pieces that many wouldn’t have been familiar with. The decision was made to highlight some of the lesser known talent that Jonathan believed was worthy of more attention.
Both parts of the concert consisted of organ and piano pieces from a variety of composers including Purcell, Stanley, Elgar and Ireland, a personal favourite from the night.
The different pieces enraptured the audience into silence and awe at the passion and ease at which Jonathan played the compositions, until the final set piece. Pomp and Circumstance March brought the audience out of their trance, singing along to the piece, which Jonathan encouraged, with many waving their programmes in a patriotic flare.
After which, Jonathan performed a greatly appreciated encore of jazz that had been previously requested by an audience member to close the evening.
Jonathan exited to the sound of vigorous applause reflecting the impressive and moving performance he put on for Salcombe.
The evening was organised by The Friends of Holy Trinity Church Salcombe, a registered charity that raises funds to maintain the fabric of the church.
A number of years ago the church was renovated by the inspiration of Ken Reed with the large glass screens that give the building a feeling of light and space without disrupting the acoustic.
Ken had always envisaged the church being used for all sorts of music which is why the annual concerts try to incorporate a variety of genres from classical, jazz, gospel and male choirs.
A concert is planned at Holy Trinity for next year on Saturday, October 20, which if this year is anything to go by, will be a triumphant display of musical talent.
A wet and windy Sunday afternoon saw a capacity audience gathered at Sidholme Music Room, to enjoy the inauguration of the newly bought Yamaha piano and the already renovated Organ, from the 1850’s, with a programme of varied English music, given by very talented Jonathan Delbridge from Somerset.
The programme was clearly and concisely introduced by Jonathan giving us many interesting historic details. It started with four pieces on the chamber organ, dated between the 18th - 20th centuries. The first two pieces did not use the pedals, as these were first used somewhat later in England. There was a gentle romantic piece by Lloyd Webber (father of Andrew and Julian) using the swell box and finally a bright piece by the still-living composer Peter Hurford. It was lovely to hear the organ in so many different moods.
The new piano was a clear contrast to the soft toned organ, but showed its ability to adapt to Jonathan’s very accomplished playing, with his extremely professional technique.
We heard pieces by Coleridge Taylor, known as the ‘African Mahler’; a Sonata by Pinto, who wrote 3 sonatas for piano before dying at the age of 20, and who was almost like an English Mozart; and two contrasting pieces by John Ireland, showing how the English could also write in the melodious style of Debussy.
York Bowen’s (1879-1962) Suite in three movements, Opus 39, showed off the pianist’s technical skills beautifully, particularly the Finale with its rich textures.
Finally Jonathan went to the organ again for a rendering of Wesley’s Choral Song and Fugue. This was written for the organ at local Killerton House, which probably has some pipes made by the same craftsman as Sidholme. As an encore we all sang along to Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance march, waving our flags!
Sidholme Music Room’s programme continues with a concert of Noel Coward’s works by local artists on 24th September, and an exciting duo of David Davis and Andrew Millington on two pianos and organ on November 5th. Bucket collections are helping towards the renovation of the biggest chandelier, currently in Kent being repaired, to illuminate the Music Room in time for Christmas.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
“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.”
“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.”