Cradle Song

Gramophone January 1996

Cradle Song

Julian Lloyd Webber (vc); JohnLenehan, Pam Chowhan, Richard Rodney Bennett (pfs).

Philips © CD 442 426-2PH (57 minutes: DDD).

This album provides a companion to Julian Lloyd Webber’s much admired “Cello Song” a couple of years ago (10/93), and once again he has skilfully managed to choose a sequence of pieces that retains the same overall mood without monotony – though that consideration may in any case not much worry someone seeking late-night ‘easy listening’. This attractive disc actually begins with a piece by Lloyd Webber his first ever and written in 1992 for his six-week-old son David. Indeed, the inspiration for this whole album of lullabies is, he tells us, “the innocence of childhood” and the cellist also thinks it his “most personal recording”.

There are 21 tracks here and all are attractive music from, and for, a child’s world, though not everything is strictly speaking a cradle song. Lloyd Webber plays consistently with an ideal intimacy and care, and John Lenehan, who also composed the lullaby called Alice, is an excellent partner – though Richard Rodney Bennett and Pam Chowhan also participate in their own arrangements. The thoughtful and imaginative booklet- essay is on cradle songs generally and doesn’t attempt to deal with the individual pieces, but few purchasers of this disc will mind that. They will also not mind that the recording, close but not distractingly so, favours the lovely sound of Lloyd Webber’s cello. This attractive disc deserves to be very popular.