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Elgar: Cello Concerto (Chandos: CHAN 10709) [CD]

Andrew Davis, Milos Audio CD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
Price: £13.73 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Performer: Paul Watkins
  • Orchestra: BBC Philarmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Sir Andrew Davis
  • Composer: Sir Edward Elgar
  • Audio CD (26 Mar 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Chandos
  • ASIN: B007BGU64G
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 108,070 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Cello Concerto, Op. 85 - Paul Watkins/BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
2. Introduction and Allegro, Op. 47
3. Elegy for Strings, Op. 58
4. Pomp and Circumstance Marches Nos 1 5, Op. 39

Product Description

Product Description

Paul Watkins is the cello soloist in a recording that showcases some of Elgars most popular works. He is accompanied by the BBC Philharmonic and Sir Andrew Davis, a conductor steeped in the English music tradition. Elgar studied the violin from a young age, and had some early hopes of making a career as a soloist. Consequently, he wrote for the strings of the orchestra with a special understanding and flair, not least in a handful of works for strings alone. The showpiece among these is the Introduction and Allegro, written in 1904, for the newly formed London Symphony Orchestra to be included in an all-Elgar concert. The premiere performance was conducted by the composer. Elgar started writing his Pomp and Circumstance Marches in 1901 in the wake of his national successes with the Enigma Variations and The Dream of Gerontius. The Marches vary considerably in mood. The First March gained worldwide fame largely due to the trio melody, which Elgar considered a tune that comes once in a lifetime, and the Second displays a certain air of urgency with its brazen horn calls and jaunty trio. Also on this disc is Elgars intimate and restrained Elegy for Strings. The Cello Concerto in E minor, written in 1918 19, was the last major work Elgar completed. Its mood is often described as autumnal, and highly reflective of the ageing composers own state of mind. At the time of writing it, Elgar was concerned about the failing health of his wife and about his own waning popularity; he was deeply disturbed, too, by the horrors of the First World War. Paul Watkins writes of his experience of recording this work: It is a privilege to have the opportunity to add my voice to the many different interpretations of this iconic work. I prepared for this recording by using my experience as a conductor: in other words, to study Elgars masterful score as deeply as possible, and to realise how intimately the solo cello is linked to the orchestra throughout. In this respect I feel fortunate to have been working with Sir Andrew Davis. He is the most natural and intelligent interpreter of Elgar I know.

Product Description

Concerto pour violoncelle, op.85 - Introduction et Allegro, op.47 - Élégie, op.58 - Pomp and Circumstance Marches n°1 à n°5 / Paul Watkins, violoncelle - BBC Philharmonic - Sir Andrew Davis, direction

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb 10 April 2012
Format:Audio CD
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.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
By Mr. Robert D. Roy TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This is a superb recording of all the works in this disc with everyone involved giving their 'all'. I suppose the disc's main work is the 'cello concerto which couldn't be more different to another more famous recording, although this proves abundantly that there is room for many approaches to this wonderful piece.

Paul Watkins and Sir Andrew Davies give a reading that combines tenderness with a real Elgarian sense of 'getting on with it'. (Listen to Elgar's own recordings on a bargain EMI set which set the standard for all those who followed). Although I'm a huge fan of the 'famous recording' there is no doubt that, in recent years, there has been a trend towards treating the piece in a less overtly emotional style.

The other works have real flair and insight and if Sir Andrew can't bring the sheer heft to the Introduction and Allegro that Sir John Barbirolli brought, let's face it, who could?! The strings of the BBC Phil. prove themselves to be inferior to no other Orchestra. (Including the Berlin Phil.!)

The P & C Marches are, for me, the revelation of the disc. As a passionate Elgarian, I've always been slightly embarassed by them but here you want to stand in your sitting room and cheer! The swagger is infectious with everyone obviously enjoying themselves hugely.

On the technical side, it's a pity this disc hasn't been recorded in SACD.

Don't hesitate!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An outstanding performance 15 Nov 2012
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
If you have had enough of overheated performances of this wonderful work, try this. He plays exactly what Elgar wrote!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning 29 July 2012
By J Pabst
Format:Audio CD
Both the performance and the engineering are exemplary. Never have the cello concerto or the marches sounded so intuitively right. Do not hesitate to acquire this outstanding recording.
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2 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
14 June 2012
I have just played the Cello Concerto on this well-reviewed CD and found the sound level(s) intolerable. At my normal volume level the cello is almost inaudible, but if I turn the volume up the orchestra is unbearably loud. I am wondering if I have a faulty pressing.
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