Penguin CD Guide 2001
‘English idyll’ (with ASMF, Neville Marriner):
VAUGHAN WILLIAMS: Romanza. ELGAR: Romance in D min.. Op. 62; Une idylle, Op. 4/1.
Discs: 2 Pieces for cello and chamber orchestra. GRAINGER: Youthful rapture; Brigg Fair (arrangement).
DYSON: Fantasy. IRELAND: The holy boy. WALFORD DAVIES: Solemn melody.
Holst: Invocation, Op. 19/2. Cyril Scott: Pastoral and reel.
The highlights of Julian Lloyd Webber’s programme of English concertante miniatures are the Holst Invocation, with its nocturnal mood sensitively caught, and George Dyson’s Fantasy, where the playing readily captures Christopher Palmer’s description: ‘exquisitely summery and sunny — its chattering moto perpetuo evokes images of bees and butterflies’. Grainger’s passionate Youthful raptlure is given just the right degree of ardent espressivo, as are Delius’s warmly flowing Caprice and Elegy, written (during the composer’s last Fenby period) for Beatrice Harrison.
The two transcriptions, Vaughan Williams’s Romanza (originally part of the Tuba concerto) and the Elgar Romance, conceived with the bassoon in mind, were both arranged for the cello by their respective composers and are effective enough in their string formats, although by no means superseding the originals. However, Lloyd Webber gives the full romantic treatment both to John Ireland’s simple tone-picture, The holy boy, and to Grainger’s arrangement of Brigg Fair, to which not all will respond. For the closing Cyril Scoff Pastoral and reel (with its telling drone effect) he returns to a more direct style, with pleasing results. Sympathetic accompaniments and warm, atmospheric recording.
Sunday Telegraph 5th February 1995
Lloyd Webber, Academy of St Martin’s/ Marriner.
Julian Lloyd Webber is in persuasive form for this pleasant selection of short English works for cello and orchestra or piano, several of them associated with the cellist Beatrice Harrison, the Elgar concerto’s first and one of its finest exponents. Some of the pieces are arrangements. The Vaughan Williams Romance, for instance, is the slow movement of his Tuba Concerto (arranged by the composer), and it sounds even more smoothly lyrical on a stringed instrument.
Of two Elgar pieces, the Romance is also the composer’s transcription for cello of a work he conceived for bassoon. A Pastoral and Reel, written for Harrison by Cyril Scott, is a curiosity that requires panache to bring it off. Holst’s Invocation is one of his warmest and most melodic pieces, and there are items by Dyson and Grainger, plus two of the works the incapacitated Delius composed in 1930 with Eric Fenby’s co-operation. Lovely performances.
BBC Radio 3 Record Review 11th March 1995
English Idyll, Academy of St Martin in the Field, Marriner (Philips)
“English Idyll, Julian Lloyd Webber’s latest anthology, could have been one of those discs none of us really needs. But Lloyd Webber is an exceptional artist, the playing eloquent, the selection shrewd and adventurous. A fascinating anthology of little-known miniatures.”