THIS superb cello solo concert by Jonathan Bloxham was reminiscent of 19th century musical soirees and was the latest in the Wensleydale Concert Series.

The title was certainly apt with the audience grouped around a musician who obviously enjoyed the intimate atmosphere.

His compelling and utterly engrossing performance of three of Bach’s Suites for solo cello (G major, D minor and C major) was of the highest order and quality. Many closed their eyes and allowed the warm, luxurious experience to envelop them.

All savoured the moods and emotions he conveyed so well during his virtuoso performance with its consistently full, rich tone.

Bloxham explained the special features of Bach’s Suites and how he tried to create a similar sound to that originally intended before cellos had metal strings, and when bows were heavier and weighted differently. That evening he was playing an 1884 Italian cello.

He also introduced his audience to Howard Skempton’s Six Figures for solo cello and shared his fascination in how these short pieces explored creating music in new ways. His haunting encore was based on Song of the Birds by Pablo Cassals.

During the interval and after the concert he took time to discuss the music with some of those who attended.

The organisers of the Wensleydale Concert Series, Carol Haynes and Liz Sowter, agreed with many others that the venue was perfect for that type performance and they thanked those who gave such a warm welcome.

It is back to St Andrew’s Church at Aysgarth on Saturday, March 19, for the next concert by Fenella Humphreys (violin) and Daniel Grimwood (piano). Visit for details.

Pip Land