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Elgar: Cello Concerto; Elegy for Strings, et al. / Paul Watkins, cello

Album Summary

>Elgar, Edward : Concerto for Cello
>Elgar, Edward : Introduction and Allegro, for string quartet & string orchestra in G major, Op. 47
>Elgar, Edward : Elegy for Strings, Op. 58
>Elgar, Edward : Pomp and Circumstance Marches (5), Op. 39
Performers Conductor Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Paul Watkins is the cello soloist in a recording that showcases some of Elgar's most popular works. He is accompanied by the BBC Philharmonic and Sir Andrew Davis, a conductor steeped in the English music tradition. 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 composer's own state of mind. 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 Elgar's masterful score as deeply as possible, and to realize 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.'

The Guardian
Watkins' account seems the best to have appeared on disc for years. It has intensity, presence and warmth, which never topples over into sentimentality, and Davis and the BBC Philharmonic accompany with panache; the exchanges in the scherzo are wonderfully deft. The rest of disc is equally fine.

The Times
Poetic pianissimos, abrupt explosions, finely tapered phrases: each of Watkins's expressive details immediately reach the listener...There's also perfect rapport between soloist, conductor and orchestra. Watkins's ten years of conducting experience comes into play here...time and again the ear is moved and beguiled by Watkins's quiet ache or varied colours or the orchestra's sheen and fleet panache.

MusicWeb International - John Quinn
This is an excellent disc which I've enjoyed greatly. The playing of the BBC Philharmonic is excellent, reminding us - if we needed to be reminded - that Manchester has two first class symphony orchestras. They're directed and energised by one of the leading Elgar conductors of the present moment. Add to that a splendid soloist in the Cello Concerto and you have a distinguished release. The performances are reported in excellent Chandos sound, which has all the presence and detail that one expects from this label. Incidentally, this is the first CD I've heard from the BBC Philharmonic since they moved into their new home at MediaCity UK in Salford. The name of the new venue may be dreadful but it seems that the studio in which the orchestra now plays produces good results. I have the impression, on a first hearing, that the acoustic is somewhat more ample than was the case in their former home at Studio 7, New Broadcasting House, where the sound was very immediate. In the new venue there appears to be a bit more space around the sound of the orchestra.

Gramophone Magazine
Watkins plays with consummate artistry, his golden-toned and technically flawless contribution striking a judicious balance between classical poise and unexaggerated depth of feeling...Durable rewards guaranteed, then, and the same certainly holds true for Davis's dashingly articulate, meticulously observant and superbly musical handling [of the Marches]...for the two main offerings alone every Elgarian should investigate this release.

BBC Music Magazine
There are times when a recording of a popular classic comes along that's so fresh, understanding and heartfelt that it demands to be approached solely on its own terms. Paul Watkins's Elgar Cello Concerto is firmly in that class. Watkins's emotional shading is individual, without it ever sounding as though he's trying to be individual.

Fanfare Magazine
Chandos, as usual, has come through with a recording bearing a good deal of pomp and circumstance of its own. If Elgar's music affects you as it does me, this is a disc you must have.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: MediaCity UK, Salford (10/04/2011-10/09/2011).



Reviews

Lovely interpretation, wonderful Military Marches!
The Elgar Cello Concerto, Op. 85, has long been one of my favorite cello pieces. So while I am always pleased to hear it performed, I must confess to a sense of trepidation that the piece itself will be butchered. Here I had no cause for worry. Mr. Watkins playing is soulful and evocative, and the BBC Philharmonic, under the baton of Sir Andrew Davis, definitely does justice to the music. The complete interpretation is lovely, and this CD most certainly spent an inordinate amount of time in my player due to this piece alone.

Following the concerto is the Introduction and Allegro, Op. 47. The melodies are sweeping and fresh, with the strings taking center stage. It is just wonderful and a treat to listen to. Following is the Elegy, Op. 58, and it is just start to finish beautiful. It is personal, warm, full of feeling, and this performance almost requires the listener to just sit back, listen and reflect. It doesn’t get much better than this.

At this point, the disc changes gears and it is time for ‘Pomp and Circumstance’, Op. 39. I have always enjoyed well played march music, and this is delightful! All five marches are filled with up-tempo energy, marvelous horn work, and leave the listener smiling.

This disc is fantastic from beginning to end. Very Highly Recommended!

Submitted on 08/27/12 by KlingonOpera 
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Works Details

>Elgar, Edward : Concerto for Cello
  • Performer: Paul Watkins (Cello)
  • Conductor: Andrew Davis
  • Ensemble: BBC Philharmonic
  • Notes: MediaCity UK, Salford (10/04/2011-10/09/2011)
  • Running Time: 26 min. 37 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 1919

>Elgar, Edward : Introduction and Allegro, for string quartet & string orchestra in G major, Op. 47
  • Performers: Daniel Bell (Violin); Stephen Bingham (Violin); Steven Burnard (Violin); Peter Dixon (Cello)
  • Conductor: Andrew Davis
  • Notes: MediaCity UK, Salford (10/04/2011-10/09/2011)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 41 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1905

>Elgar, Edward : Elegy for Strings, Op. 58
  • Conductor: Andrew Davis
  • Notes: MediaCity UK, Salford (10/04/2011-10/09/2011)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 2 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1909

>Elgar, Edward : Pomp and Circumstance Marches (5), Op. 39
  • Conductor: Andrew Davis
  • Notes: MediaCity UK, Salford (10/04/2011-10/09/2011)
  • Running Time: 28 min. 17 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: March
  • Written: 1901-1930