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The Cello Concerto is one of Anglo-Irish composer E. J. Moeran’s most important works. Composed in 1945, its deft scoring and memorable melodic material mark it as a work of his maturity. At its heart is the raptly lyrical and profoundly felt slow movement but the whole concerto reflects the singing qualities of the solo instrument. The much-admired Serenade is heard in the 1996 edition of the original 1948 version with eight movements. Lonely Waters is a brief but evocative orchestral rhapsody, and Whythorne’s Shadow a touching fantasy based on an Elizabethan madrigal.
The outstanding young soloist Guy Johnston (winner of the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition in 2000) has been receiving superb international reviews, and this disc marks the early partnership of the Ulster Orchestra with JoAnn Falletta.
Ernest John Moeran: Serenade in G Major (original version)
I. Prologue: Allegro
II. Air: Lento, ma non troppo
III. Intermezzo: Allegretto
IV. Galop: Presto
V. Minuet: Tempo di minuetto
VI. Rigadoon: Con brio, ma tempo moderato
VII. Forlana: Andante con moto
VIII. Epilogue: Allegro un poco maestoso
Ernest John Moeran: Lonely Waters
Ernest John Moeran: Whythorne's Shadow
“In Guy Johnston [the Concerto] has a soloist entirely sensitive to its swift and sometimes paradoxical changes of mood: this is an effective performance of a little-heard and underrated work...The Ulster Orchestra is in fine form, and JoAnn Falletta seems to have the measure of Moeran's elusive and eclectic idiom.”
25th April 2013
“Recognising that it's not a work in which soloist and orchestra confront each other, they combine to give a perfect sense of shape and purpose to the endless song of the first movement, with its fiercely combative central development, and locate the emotional heart of the work in the introspective central Adagio, which Johnston shades very beautifully.”
“[the Cello Concerto is] full of the most heart-stoppingly beautiful inspiration...Johnston responds with heaps of poetry and selfless dedication...The Ulster Orchestra under JoAnn Falletta are certainly on their toes both here and in the three remaining items.”
10th June 2013
“To my ear cellist Guy Johnston is the most impressive of the three players to have recorded the principal work...Johnston plays with just the right musing rhapsodic freedom and with a beautifully unforced tone...this is a good place for a Moeran newcomer to start a collection and a compulsory purchase for all other acolytes.”
25th March 2013
“Guy Johnston is a wonderful ambassador, eloquent yet never saccharine in the elegiac passages, feisty and big-boned in the exuberant outbursts...If you treasure the Elgar and Walton Concertos, or are open to the idea of a Lark Ascending with a sting in its tail, then I’d strongly advise you to take a punt on this disc: you can certainly have fun playing ‘spot the influence’ as you go along, but Moeran is still very much his own man”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.