Turkish Daily News 27th June 2007
Classic brilliance resonates in ancient walls
Istanbul Concert Review
Music gently winds through the corridors of the ancient Byzantine structure Hagia Eirini, at the concert, Festival Meetings II, performed by an acclaimed cellist, cello quartet and pianist
As four cellists raise their bows in the air and strike the cellos strings with utmost grace, Bach’s Air in D Major gently resonates in a former Eastern Orthodox Church, Hagia Eirini Museum (Aya lrini) at the Topkapi Palace on Monday night. As the music gently whines through the corridors of the ancient Byzantine structure and rises to the atrium, a surreal musical journey begins in an enchanting setting of history and culture that creates the perfect atmosphere for music lovers of all ages. Festival Meetings II, featuring an acclaimed cellist, Julian Lloyd Webber, cello quartet çellistanbul and pianist Pam Chowhan is part of the 35th International Istanbul Music Festival. The festival is the latest creation of a creative musician and an ensemble of musicians whose passion for classical sound resonates from their soul. Istanbul’s own cello quartet ‘çeliistanbul’, started the audience on a journey of choral harmonies. Inspired by the city Istanbul and its magical atmosphere, the group is formed of cellists who graduated from the same Conservatoire of music their repertoire includes classical as well as modern works. “I am on a Long, Narrow Road” was a special composition for the quartet based on Asik Veysel’s melody that proved to the audience they were witnessing brilliant performers.
Each cord was played in unison echoing the emotion of the music on the individual faces and swaying bodies 0r the cellists. The group was one entity playing off each other’s enthusiasm and passion. Their long composition was met with equal pleasure from the audience as each note created tension in the already thick church air. The last note in the composition is held in harmony. The audience holds its breath. Time stops. The note finishes. The stunned audience breaks the silence with loud cheers and applause.
The group also known for their works of tango and jazz finish off their set with Tango Passionata and Polonaise. The second set welcomes Julian Lloyd Webber to the stage with Pam Chowham accompanying him on the piano. He too begins with Bach’s C Major Adagio followed by Scherzetto. At first the music did not flow together.
There seemed to be tension as each performer kept looking for signs and warmth the two instruments should create. It was not until Scherzo Pizzicato that the union warmed up and put their bows aside; Webber played the cello with his fingers. Claude Debussy’s Sonata (1915) was long and stunning. Inspired with patriotic sentiments his music flowed with watery magic to dark virtuosity. It was multi-faceted brilliance that was written for the flute, piano and cello and it worked with Chowhan accompanying Webber on the piano. The night was not over yet, as ‘çellistanbul’ joined Webber on stage to perform the last three compositions. Beginning with Astor Piazzolla’s Oblivion, the groups performance highlights not only Webber’s amazing ability to take original scores and create a compelling rhythm, hut to depict character through music that shows his way of bringing life to his playing, It would not be a Webber production without performing one of his brothers most popular songs from the popular musical Jesus Christ Superstar, “I Don’t Know How to Love Him.” The audience was really alive and hoped there was more when the performance ended. The silence was extensive and finally broken with loud applause. The applause brought Webber and the ‘çellistanbul’ quartet back on stage to perform an encore of Astor Piazolla’s Oblivion. This time when the last cord was held, the audience knew once the sound reached the atrium, the performance was truly over. A standing ovation ended a magical myriad of classical ethereal sound that was performed brilliantly.
Salzburg Volkszeitung 18th February 1993
Im Schlagschatten familiärer Prominenz (quote)
“Applause that was merited at the highest level, because right from the beginning there were no doubts that here was a cellist of an extraordinary class.
The splendour of the evening’s recital lay in the fabulously beautifui sound of this instrument which Julian Lloyd Webber knew how to use throughout its range – perfect changes of register, convincing bowing-technique and, above all, precise intonation characterised the playing of the secure expert, an attitude intensified by his combination of brilliance and depth of feeling.”
SALZBURGER NACHRICHTEN 18th February 1993
Kraft aus der Synthese von Intellekt und Musikantentum
Salzburg: Der Cellist Julian Lloyd Webber Im Mozarteum
Gabriel Faures Elegie in c-Moll, op 24, – Ist das wirklich eine von jenen samtenen Musikschöpfungen, die zu nichts anderem gut sind, als daß sich ein Cellist mit Ihrer Hilfe zielstrebig Ins Herz seiner Zuhörer hinelnschmelchelt? Julian Lloyd Webber Ist ein erzmusikantischer Cellist, und ?jarum hat er diesem Stück nichts von seinem sentimentalen melodischen Reiz Benommen. Aber er Ist auch und vor allem ein hochintelligenter Cellist; einrr, der sich keineswegs mit einem sonoren Singsang die Bindebögen entlang zufrieden gibt. Er hält Faures Elegie eher im Mezzoforte und zeltweise in ganz Innigen Piano-Tö- nen, läßt den Schmelz also nur in kleiner Dosis zu. Und gerade deshalb bildet er mit seinem Cello kein akustisches Bollwerk zum Klavier hin, sondern lenkt das Interesse der Zuhörer hin zum Kollegen an den Tasten. Der Pianist bekommt so die Möglichkeit, ein wichtiges Stück Faure-VeretändnIs mitzuteilen: Faures harmonische Welten »ind »ehr genau geplante, vorimpressionistische Klangmalereien. Folgerichtig hat John Lenehan am Flügel der feinen Stimmung In den Akkorden nachhören können.
Es war eine durch und durch anregen- de Begegnung mit Violoncello-Literatur «us einem eher engen Zeitraum, zwischen 1880 und 1961.Sergej Rachmanlnow befrleolgte mit der g Moll Sonate, op. 19, durchaus Erwartungen’an Virtuosität und Schwärmerei. Benjamln Britten wollte mit seiner ?Sonata in C” (op. 65) wohl zeigen, daß das Schwelgen In den Melodien auch nach zwei Dezennien der Vorherrschaft serieller Kompositionswelsen seine Berechtigung hat, wenn es nur formal, strukturell gut abgesichert Ist.
Brittens Werk ist In dieser Hinsicht fürwahr gut »bgesichert. Und Uoyd Webber hat mit der ihm eigenen Kraft zur Synthese von Intellekt und Musikantentum ein bravourös aufgeschlüsseltes Bild von dieser Musik nachgezeichnet. Diese Etnton-Motive am Beginn, die so subtil In ihren Bewegungs- und Lautstärke-Werten verknüpft warenl Wieder hatte John Lenehan großen Anteil am stimmigen Ganzen, denn Brittens «So- nata” Ist nicht nur tm explizit so benannten ,Dialoge” ein eminent zwie-ge- sprachiges Werk. Der Londoner Pianist hat die Gabe, auch dichte Akkordpassagen mit beneidenswerter Klarheit und Schlankheit umzusetzen. Und er trifft mit schlafwandlerischer Sicherheit jeweils genau die dynimlsche Balance.
Der Abend war b-imerkenswert auch und gerade wegen der Übereinstim- mung zwischen dem Cellisten und sei- nem Begleiter.
The Strad February 1993
Beatrice Harrison Memorial Concert – Wigmore Hall
Julian Lloyd Webber (cello)
Another English memorial took place on 9 December in a packed Wigmore Hall – Julian Lloyd Webber’s tribute to Beatrice Harrison.
Elgar’s biographer, Jerrold Northrop Moore, one of the few people still alive today who heard Beatrice play, gave an interesting address, describing Lloyd Webber as an inheritor of her style: ‘One wasn’t aware of fingers and wood – only of the music itself.’ Having heard Harrison on disc, it may be hard to view the self-effacing Webber as a descendant, but, leaving aside the glissandi and rubato of her time, he is certainly capable of revealing the music itself in an unusual way: in his performance of the Adagio from Elgar’s Concerto he exposed the structure in all its remarkable transparency and simplicity. Particularly striking was the Delius Sonata, a rhapsodic work which Webber managed to anchor, playing with unfailing beauty but not a trace of indulgence. His note on the Ireland Sonata, linking it with the novels of Arthur Machen, who wrote of ‘that strange borderland, lying somewhere between dreams and death’, threw a powerful if ominous new light over the work, and he found his most eloquent moments in the sustained, mauve-coloured phrases on D and G strings. Enormously enjoyable was Cyril Scott’s virtuosic Pastoral and Reel, for which Margaret Harrison was welcomed affectionately on stage to help John Lenehan with the accompaniment. Bridge’s Scherzetto is an encore Harrison herself would have played, and Webber attacked it with alacrity, showing that his English heritage isn’t just serious, beautiful and unsentimental.
The Strad July 1992
Julian Lloyd Webber
Manchester International Cello Festival
“Julian Lloyd Webber’s performance of the stimulating Britten Sonata was refreshingly pure and unfussy without losing any of its comic grace.”
Handesblad 21st May 1992
Cellist Julian Lloyd Webber in emotive ensemble with pianist Lenehan
At his concert in the Kleine Zaal of the Concertgebouw, the English cellist Julian Lloyd Webber proved to be an instrumentalist and musician of a special class. A flexible, rich and – at all dynamic levels – cantabile tone forms the basis of his playing. The uniqueness of Julian Lloyd Webber lies in the fact that he does not use his instrumental skills simply to show off and score a cheap success; on the contrary, his skilful control of the instrument a priori serves the musical text to enable its performance with the correct stylistic interpretation.
The cellist started and finished his recital with sonatas which are not so often heard. From the beginning of the recital it was obvious that Lloyd Webber has found the right accompanist in John Lenehan. With a high-spirited, exciting, intrinsically moving ensemble, which was suffused with an extremely Russian light melancholic flavour, the performance of the Rachmaninov Sonata was the climax of the evening. With his encores. Bach’s Arioso in G and music by his brother Andrew, the famous composer of musicals, the cellist showed in a brilliant way both the introvert and extrovert aspects of his artistic skill.