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Posted August 27, 2012
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!