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SULLIVAN: CELLO CONCERTO IN D
Sir Arthur Sullivan (of Gilbert and) wrote but one concerto, but we've had to wait until now to hear a recording of it (Angel CDC 47622, CD). And even this performance hinges on a lucky break that the man who last conducted it (Mackerras in 1953) had a memory so photographic, he was able to reconstruct the orchestral parts that were destroyed in a 1964 fire.
It's a delightful find, too, particularly the bucolic third movement with its lengthy, effortlessly flowing outbreaks of perpetual motion for the cellist. It might not be top-drawer Sullivan, with only the faintest pre-echoes of the Gilbert and Sullivan comic operas, but it could easily carve out a place in the too-small cello repertory - and Webber plays it with warmth and affection.
Webber - whose brother Andrew is the massively popular musicals composer also essays a cello transcription of Elgar's sentimental but pleasant "Romance" that lay unknown until 1985, as well as the sometimes brooding, conventionally Romantic but not-too-sweet concerto by Victor Herbert. The whole CD is quite a programming coup; two attractive cello concertos by composers whom almost everyone thought were exclusively welded to the stage.