We are not exactly short of recordings of Elgar's Cello Concerto, but this is a cracker. Paul Watkins has clearly prepared well for this and it shows in a performance full of energy and feeling. This is like listening to a very fine live performance; passion, sorrow and anger all there. And the BBC Philharmonic and Davis are equally galvanising; a sense that the whole team is as one. This doesn't happen too often in recordings. This disc goes up there with the very best.
But like Mr. Roy, above, I also found (to my surprise, to be honest), the Pomp and Circumstance Marches absolutely thrilling. They are perfectly judged, each one treated as a miniature masterpiece, rhythmically alert, and played by the BBC Phil with absolute conviction. The ending of the first march is underpinned by organ and the effect is electrifying. This would really bring the house down at the Proms! Yet all five marches (even the three we don't normally hear so much) are superb.
The Elegy is a short piece, most movingly played, in the same mood as Elgar's great Sospiri. The only reservation, albeit slight, I have about the disc is the Introduction and Allegro which is finely played, but does not have the bite of Barbirolli's great recordings , especially the classic Sinfonia of London account. But it's still a fine performance.
This is the first recording I've heard made in MediaCity, Salford, the BBC Philharmonic's new home, and it is also superb. Plenty of space around the instruments, depth, qualities we don't often hear in modern halls.
An absolutely wonderful disc then, highly recommended.