Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Christopher Jessup EP By Christopher Jessup

Christopher Jessup EP


Christopher Jessup

Written by

Steve Sheppard


The works of classical composers have influenced us throughout the years, for some of us; our own music has influences that sometimes remain unknown until mentioned by others of greater knowledge. Here Christopher Jessup takes us on a journey through six splendid compositions, many of which may well have influenced the way I even think about music.

Back in the late 90s I enjoyed the changing tones of a performance by Daniel Barenboim of Debussy’s Préludes, Book 1, L. 117: No. 12 "Minstrels" here on this new album by Jessup we can delight in reliving that moment once again, with a superb performance on piano by the artist, one that is crisp, technically sublime and beautifully fluent.

I had many composers I liked back then, and of course still to this day, one of them was the Norwegian genius Grieg, here the artist gives us a tender rendition of his famous work, Grieg Piano Sonata in E Minor (2nd movement), with splendid flourishing moments of a masterful performance, Jessup embraces the energy of the piece beautifully, and thus this manifestation is a delight not to be missed.

From Debussy, to Grieg and now to the lair of the great Austrian composer Franz Joseph Haydn, a man who was once labelled as “Father of the String Quartet” and a composer who was heavily influential in the development of Chamber Music itself. Here Christopher Jessup seizes the moment, and gifts us a perfect recital of the work Haydn Keyboard Sonata in B Minor (1st movement), this is one that contains a controlled precise performance, and one that is without a shadow of a doubt, technically superior.

We arrive at a truly important juncture, during the 1920’s and 30’s Ravel was internationally regarded as France's greatest living composer, now around 100 years later we can listen to Jessup perform the piece Ravel Sonatine (1st movement), and to this day there is still a recorded performance of Ravel playing his own creation. Jessup’s performance here is nothing more that sheer genius, his virtuoso presentation is almost dream like in proportion, I got lost in the realms of this amazing presentation, its mesmeric tones and vibrancy were simply magical.

The penultimate piece is a live performance and a truly magnificent accomplishment, as Jessup brings us the immortally powerful Le Revenant (Live from Carnegie Hall). To manifest such a commanding piece such as this is simply mind blowing, at times dominant, at times deeply influential, but always a formidable presentation, one performed with such skill and technique.

Our last offering may well be a favourite of many as we listen to Mozart Piano Concerto No. 19 in F Major, K. 459 (3rd movement), originally completed in the latter half of 1784, this athletic composition is so gracefully performed by Jessup, but with much vigour and dynamism, and one must heap the praise on the artist in choosing this fine creation with which to conclude the album, and in such vivacious style as well.


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