Haydn Cello Concerto in C

Julian Lloyd Webber and the EU Chamber Orchestra at St George’s, Bristol

20th April 2012

The European Union is not something one would normally expect to be associated with music, but their chamber orchestra is exceptional. Formed in 1981, they now have a worldwide reputation as musical ambassadors. Opening an evening of style and grace at St George’s, Bristol with Handel’s Arrival of the Queen of Sheba, the orchestra gave an air of confidence. Not only were they incredibly unified, but they had a cheery disposition on stage; smiling and connecting with each other through the music. From the third act of Handel’s oratorio Solomon, the celebratory nature of this work started the night off with a bang. It provided a clever welcome to Julian Lloyd Webber as musical royalty.

The programme for the evening was a mixture of well-known classical works, from Bach’s Air on a G string, to Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings. The Adagio was spine-tingling; being one of those pieces where you daren’t breath through fear of making a noise and ruining the sheer perfection of it all. The suspended notes give the piece a melismatic quality that keeps the listener in suspense due to its use of unusual, ever-changing time signatures. The icing on the cake was an ambiguous final note that just left you wanting more and, despite Barber having composed a Molto allegro to follow in the quartet version and answer the open-ended quality of this piece, it was nice to hear it on its own.

The star of the night, Julian Lloyd Webber is widely held to be one of the leading cellists of his generation. His story as a musician started at the age of sixteen with a scholarship to the Royal College of Music, after which he completed his studies in Geneva under the renowned French cellist Pierre Fournier. The sound of his ‘Alexandre Barjansky’ Stradavarius cello (c. 1690) has a unique quality with subtle nuances that allowed Lloyd Webber to give the audience a personal performance. He was so completely involved in the music it was almost as though you could see him humming the Haydn Concerto in C major in his head. The Air on a G string is a tricky piece to perform as not only is it extremely well known, it is all on one string, which gives it a romantic, relaxed feel by sliding smoothly between notes. Lloyd Weber’s interpretation of the concerto was understated and elegant and met with a great response from the audience. He played as though he was relating to a personal memory in both pieces and his performance could be described as cerebral and intellectual. Many soloists will move around wildly with the music whereas Lloyd Webber gave a tight performance straight from his heart and imagination. On stage, he demonstrated the true power of his knowledge of the music.

The night was nicely rounded off with an orchestral encore of Handel’s Water Music Suite no. 1 in F. This was a pleasant piece, full of optimism and acting as a coda to an evening of captivating musical works. Whilst Julian Lloyd Webber gave a fantastic performance it was the European Union Chamber Orchestra that stood out (and literally stood up) throughout the entire performance. All credit to them and their director Jérôme Akoka (lead violin) for an excellent evening.

Alexandra Hamilton-Ayres

Birmingham Post 21st October 2010

Haydn Cello Concerto

Orchestra of the Swan, at Birmingham Town Hall

The Orchestra of the Swan has fine-tuned its act to such a pitch of perfection that it would be very difficult to find any ways in which it could improve the presentation of its concerts.

Its opening concert of its third season as artists-in-residence at Birmingham Town Hall displayed so many qualities: an informal, audience-embracing pre-concert discussion from the stage; a cleverly-constructed programme combining the little-known (including contemporary with a human face) with the well-loved; a remarkable standard of performance and conducting (David Curtis); and the appearance of two wonderful soloists, cellist husband-and-wife Mr and Mrs Julian Lloyd Webber.

And the result of all this was a packed auditorium last Wednesday afternoon, embracing all age-groups, including those who whether because of age or disability are reluctant to brave the city centre in the evening.

Handel’s Arrival of the Queen of Sheba,lively and expectant, was reflected in Alec Roth’s sad, tender Departure of the Queen of Sheba. Over camel-clopping string accompaniments, oboe (Victoria Brawn) and cor anglais (Louise Braithwaite) intertwine in an erotic and regretful farewell, before Sheba the oboe reluctantly leaves the stage. The piece drew huge applause.

A well-established “Farewell” came with Haydn’s Symphony no. 45, tautly delivered, not least its quirky Minuet movement, and then, during the gracious coda to the finale, wittily accommodating space for the gracious departure of instrumentalists turn by turn (Haydn’s musicians had wanted to go back home to Vienna), and even the conductor, leaving two forlorn violinists to turn the lights out.

As for the soloists, Julian Lloyd Webber evidently enjoyed his crisp and lyrical chamber music-like collaboration with his orchestral colleagues in Haydn’s C major Cello Concerto.

He was joined by Jiaxin Cheng in Vivaldi’s dark, earthy G minor Concerto for two cellos, and what a tremendous, like-minded and like-articulating couple they made — and this particular partnership was their first in public together.

The Plymouth Herald April 2009

Concert marks end of an era

THEY may have had fewer than 20 players, but the European Union Chamber Orchestra, under the assured leadership of Matthias Wollong, filled the hall with an opulently vibrant and full-blooded sound, whilst still able to play with the subtlest of pianissimos whenever the music demanded.

Mendelssohn’s Symphony in B minor clearly demonstrated the strength and richness of the string section, where the balance was felt exactly right with just the single double bass. Augmented by pairs of horns and oboes, the players were joined by Julian Lloyd Webber, who then gave a superb account of Haydn’s C major Cello Concerto. Virtuosity was always at the forefront, especially in the rapid scales of the finale, all despatched with great precision and rock-solid intonation, but Julian’s playing was further enhanced by a most sensitive use of dynamics, and his gloriously rich singing-tone.

The strings gave an especially poignant reading of Tchaikovsky’s rarely-heard Elegy in G, before being joined once more by the winds for an exhilarating performance of Mozart’s Symphony No 29.

The encore, the finale from Haydn’s Symphony No 64, could, however, prove unknowingly prophetic. With its nickname, Tempora mutantur, or Times are changing, it signalled the end of three years of top orchestral concerts coming to the city and, with little immediate hope of any further funding, could very well mean it’s a change for the worse!

The Herald 23rd August 2008

Edinburgh Youth Orchestra String Ensemble

Haydn Cello Concerto Review

Location: Greyfriars Kirk

Star rating: ****

Covering new ground in several different ways, the first Fringe performance of the Edinburgh Youth Orchestra String Ensemble also featured the Scottish premiere of a new work for cello and strings by Howard Goodall, And the Bridge is Love. As both director and soloist, cellist Julian Lloyd Webber already has a long relationship with the ensemble, conducting them with knowing precision, as well displaying his own talents as a soloist.

A fascinating programme also included Haydn’s Cello Concerto in C, a piece which remained undiscovered for almost 200 years until 1961. Played with refined composure, the fine balance between ensemble and soloist was achieved.

As conductor, Lloyd Webber also directed a work by his father, William Lloyd Webber, which was performed with zeal by the ensemble, bringing rich syrupy sounds from the cellos and ethereal tones from the violins. A select elite from a talented group of young musicians, Edinburgh Youth Orchestra String Ensemble promises to be a group to watch in the ever-expanding youth music scene in Scotland.

Miranda Heggie

Location: Greyfriars Kirk

Star rating: ****

Music Web International May 2008

Chipping Camden Festival 2008

Haydn Cello Concerto Review

You might not regard the Cotswolds as a hotbed of musical activity, but the Chipping Campden Music Festival could well change your mind. Between the 13th and 24th of May, this year the small North Cotswold town hosted concerts by artists of the calibre of Boris Berezovsky, Emmanuel Ax, Midori, the Nash Ensemble and the Sixteen, not forgetting the Festival’s president, Paul Lewis.

The Festival took a big step forward this year with the inauguration of its own Festival Academy Orchestra. The idea behind the orchestra is partly educational – to enable recently qualified musicians to gain experience by playing with seasoned professionals – hence its title. However, it certainly did not sound like a training orchestra, and this is in large measure thanks to the sterling efforts of conductor Thomas Hull who succeeded in coaxing some polished playing from the ensemble, and even included a world premiere in the first of the concerts.

This was Howard Goodall’s And the Bridge is Love for cello and strings, composed in memory of a teenage cellist he knew who died tragically last year. The title is a quotation from Thornton Wilder’s novel, The Bridge of San Luis Rey, about the collapse of a bridge in Peru in 1714 which killed five peoplea and the composition takes the form of an elegy attempting to find meaning in tragedy. As the music moves from a mood of despair towards a more optiminstic conclusion there are moments of great beauty. Goodall is well known for championing music in schools, and this piece is designed to be playable by young musicians. However, it is by no means a simple work, and its first performance was made particularly memorable by Julian Lloyd Webber’s sensitive handling of the solo part. Lloyd Webber also gave a stunning performance of Haydn’s Cello Concerto in C. He and the orchestra were able to achieve some remarkably quiet pianissimos in the Adagio thanks to the near-perfect acoustics of St James’ Church.

The Orchestra’s second concert was devoted largely to Mozart, opening with a splendid performance of the Overture to The Abduction from the Seraglio with all the exotic Turkish percussion effects. Although Mozart professed to disdain the flute, his Flute Concerto in G contains some delightful music and it could not have had a better advocate than Emily Beynon who gave a sparkling performance of it with gentle support from the Orchestra.

However. the Austrian composer’s works tended to be eclipsed by Jonathan Dove’s Magic Flute Dances which draws on themes from the opera. “I thought this could be an opportunity to let the flute out of its box, not to play the music it plays in the opera, but to play the music it has heard other people sing,” writes the composer. With its varied rhythms and changes of tempo this work offered plenty of challenges to both soloist and orchestra. Emily Beynon, who commissioned the piece, surmounted the challenges with playing of extraordinary brilliance, and the orchestra rose to the occasion under Thomas Hull’s alert direction.

Now in its seventh year the Chipping Campden Festival has grown from modest beginnings into a musical event of national significance.

Roger Jones

Location: Greyfriars Kirk

Star rating: ****

The Independent 27th May 2008

The Chipping Campden Festival

Haydn Cello Concerto Review

The Chipping Campden annual music festival is something of a phenomenon. Built up over the past few years by the local wine merchant (and the former pianist) Charlie Bennett, it has attracted world-class artists such as Alfred Brendel, the Borodin Quartet and, for this concert, Julian Lloyd Webber. For the first time, it has its very own Festival Academy orchestra made up of a mix of professionals and students. Very good they are, too. On this occasion, they were conducted by Thomas Hull and led by the delightful young violinist Ruth Rogers. Handel’s Concerto Grosso curtain-raiser was performed with panache, if not the utmost precision.

Doubtless part of the reason so many great musicians are beating a path to this gem of a Cotswold town is the wonderful acoustics of St James’ Church the Borodin Quartet reportedly said they were the best they had experienced in Britain.

The acoustics are as clear as a bell, especially when the church is packed to the rafters. This makes it a particular pleasure to hear an artist of the calibre of Julian Lloyd Webber negotiating the notoriously difficult finale of Haydn’s Cello Concerto in C major with such extraordinary ease. Before that, he had enraptured the audience with his breathtaking control of dynamics in the wonderful slow movement that dares to tread paths that are never predictable.

The best was yet to come with the world premiere of Howard Goodall’s And the Bridge Is Love for cello, strings and harp. Haunting and deeply emotional, it was beautifully played by Lloyd Webber, who has made a habit of promoting new music, and came over as an intensely personal statement, apparently dedicated to a friend of the composer who died last year at the age of 16. While contemporary in expression, it is written in a recognisably British style, reminiscent of the very best string pieces by Bridge, Britten and Tippett and with a strong hint of Vaughn Williams no mean achievement. I predict that Goodall’s heartfelt lament could easily enjoy a permanent place in the repertoire.

Thomas Hull then put the Festival Orchestra through its paces with a rousing account of Haydn’s Symphony No 104, “The London”, although the metropolis never felt so far away. There were beaming faces all round and a happy throng afterwards in the local hostelry opposite St James’.

With its beautiful setting, great acoustics and focus on artistic excellence, the Chipping Campden Music Festival has fast become an enviable role model.

The Daily Telegraph 23rd May 2008

The Chipping Campden Festival

Haydn Cello Concerto Review

Wistfully elegiac: Festival Academy Orchestra

With its glowing, picture-postcard setting, Chipping Campden in rural Gloucestershire is the perfect place for summer music-making. Now in its seventh year, the town’s festival has definitively carved out a niche for itself, attracting top-flight artists to play in the spacious and acoustically favourable St James’s Church.

It has also secured a devoted audience, which packed the pews and additional plastic seating for this programme centred on Handel and Haydn, with the world premiere of a new piece for cello and orchestra by Howard Goodall.

One of the festival’s innovations this year is the formation of the Chipping Campden Festival Academy Orchestra. Thomas Hull will be familiar to many in the music business as a leading artists’ manager, but here he also showed his mettle as conductor of an ensemble that was modestly sized but apt for the Baroque and Classical repertoire.

It was made up of professional players and gifted students, the proportions apparently being half and half, and opened the concert with a performance of Handel’s Concerto Grosso Op 6 No 5 that had stately grandeur in the overture and a crisp way of dealing with the close-knit passagework of the faster movements.

The same measure of vitality and keen observance of scale underpinned Haydn’s C major Cello Concerto, in which Julian Lloyd Webber, though invisible from my vantage point, established an aurally appreciable bond with the orchestra, combining elegance and geniality with bracing rhythms and buoyancy.

He was also soloist in And the Bridge is Love by Howard Goodall, well-known for his TV, film and stage scores and now the country’s national ambassador for singing. Singing was at the heart of the essentially lyrical And the Bridge is Love, not perhaps a work that is going to stop the world in its tracks but one that is easy on the ear in its wistfully elegiac way.

Beginning in a shrouded atmosphere vaguely reminiscent of the mood Rachmaninov evokes in The Isle of the Dead, and with the harp as a prominent feature, it lightens its spirits in the manner Elgar might have adopted, gently passing a motif between cello and orchestra and creating an aura of mild reflectiveness.

More robust material followed in the shape of Haydn’s Symphony No 104, given a performance that combined exhilarating drive with poignant shaping in the slow movement, and identifying an orchestra that deserves to become one of the festival’s prized assets.

Geoffrey Norris

The Irish Times 24th April 2004

Haydn Cello Concerto Review

Julian Lloyd Webber,


Mahony Hall. The Helix, Dublin

Michael Dungan Haydn Symphony No 67 Cello Concerto in C

It is a sweet paradox for an ensemble with a name as ungainly as the European Union Chamber Orchestra to play with such rarefied, ensemble, balance, and flair.

The orchestra’s clean, energy-filled sound was immediately and winningly apparent from the very first bars of Haydn’s Symphony No 67, the opening work in this instalment of the international Concert Series at The Helix. The high-calibre players just 15 strings pius pairs of oboes, bassoons and horns – brought a zesty freshness to the rhythmic high spirits of the first movement.

The Symphony No 67 has special treasures. These include the third movement Trio’s rustic, almost ghostly bag-pipe drone – an effect Haydn created by mistuning the G-string in the second violin part — and the slow, three-voice chamber music section which appears out of the blue in the middle of the finale.

It’s not often that a concert’s opening item becomes its highlight, but that’s what happened on this occasion.

Much credit rests with leader Gernot Susarnuth. His sprightly direction – especially here and in Mozart’s Symphony No 33— generated a nimble energy and the kind of focused dynamic control more easily attained by a conductor, The small scale of the accompanying orchestra and the clarity and range of the Mahony – Hall acoustic created the ideal conditions for Julian Lloyd Webber, soloist in Haydn s Cello Concerto in C.

His playing was tasteful, the sound always true, arid he surmounted the finale’s virtuosic challenges with apparent ease.

Elgar’s early and romantic Serenade for Strings (a change from the advertised programme) received a low-calorie performance given the small forces. Even if a bit thin, however, the sound had a pleasantly alternative appeal courtesy of the evening’s otherwise 18th-century aesthetic.

Michael Dungan

Montreal Gazette 12th May 1992

Haydn Cello Concerto

“Julian Lloyd Webber delivered a mesmerizing performance of the Haydn Cello Concerto last night. His tone was wonderful – alive, clean and well-focused, very resonant, yet refined and without any sentimentality.”

The Melbourne Age 19th September 1990

The Melbourne Festival

Haydn Cello Concerto Review

‘Webber, in the Haydn C major Cello Concerto, was thoroughly admirable. Warmly lyrical, superbly shaped, his playing was a complete exhibition of virtuosity subordinated to the quality of music.’

Sydney Morning Herald 13th September 1990

Jet-setting with loads of style


Guest conductor: Richard Hickox

Soloist: Julian Lloyd Webber, cello

Music by Haydn. Elgar and Mozart

Opera House Concert Hall

MUSICAL jet-setting reached an apogee of absurdity on Monday when British cellist Julian Lloyd Webber flew into Sydney to play the Haydn. C Major Concerto. which takes all of 22 minutes, with the Australian Chamber Orchestra.

He is doing exactly the same thing in Armidale, Canberra, Hobart, Launceston, Geelong and Melbourne, all within 11 days.

Yet any impression of extravagance in using an imported sledge hammer to crack a familiar nut was at least partially mollified by his highly individual performance.

His technique is superb, and there is a sense of eagerness, a swinging freshness in his delivery during fast movements which is mesmeric.

To the adagio he brought strong contrasts in dynamics, making it unusually romantic. The whole approach was one to make us sit up and take notice.

The two symphonies on the program were Haydn’s No. 44, nicknamed Trauer (‘Mourning”) because of its consistent seriousness, and Mozart’s No. 33.

Richard Hickox conducted them with clear signals devoid of showmanship; he is a more matter-of-fact conductor, less overtly idiosyncratic, than Christopher Hogwood, and the result had a certain stolidity.

The ACO responded more neatly to Haydn than Mozart; the latter had some distinctly unpolished patches.

In this program, Elgar’s Serenade for Strings seemed rather like a fish out of water, but in some ways it was the prettiest fish of all.

And it did support a feeling that the greatest strength of the ACO lies in its body of strings.


The Daily Yomiuri 6th December 1986

Webber Shows Natural Cello Ability

Julian Lloyd Webber—a singularly talented cellist — is highly motivated and breaks fresh ground in the field of classical music with his cello, a Stradivarius called ‘Barjansky’ and made around 1698.

Since 1983 the cellist has been travelling with this cello and an intimate relationship between Webber and “Barjansky” has accordingly developed.

Webber says “Barjansky’ is a difficult and temperamental instrument but he has now developed a personal rapport with it.

Webber is now at the stage of proving the intrinsic virtue of this exquisite instrument. Following the first successful concert with the program of the concertos of Elgar in E minor and Haydn in D major (Hob VII b-4) with the Japan Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sin Belohlavek on Oct. 22, the next concert was held at Hitomi Memorial Hall on Oct. 24 with the Consort Philharmonic Ensemble under the baton of Katsuhiko Tamaki.

Although on this day, the ensemble gave a general impression of not responding ideally to the cellist, the soloist’s natural musical ability was fully felt through beautiful and bright tones.

Haydn’s Cello Concerto No. I in C major (Hob. VII b-1) was a centerpiece of the program, which included short pieces and intermezzi of the ensemble.

This concerto was discovered in 1961 and first performed in Prague in 1962. It is presumed to have been composed in 176S while another famous concerto in D major (1783) was the only extant work of Haydn’s concertos for cello.

Haydn left an extensive collection of works in various fields of music, but it is believed that many of his works remain undiscovered

In this concerto, his clarity and virtuosity in the meticulous parts were musically and flexibly presented. In the slow parts, he demonstrated beautiful quality in allowing the sounds of the cello to be freely expressed. The second movement, the Adamio was the most profoundly moving. From the beginning, the long lyrical lines were finely shaped and until just the end of the final tone of the movement enthralled with its singing cantilena.

The profound sensitivity in the soft tones was particularly impressive. Here, the ensemble stayed well within acceptable dynamism. ‘Ave Maria’ (melody religieuse adaptee au 1er prelude do Bach) by Gounod and ‘Hamabe no Uta’ Song of Seashore) by Tanezo Narita, which is well known among Japanese and is Webbers favorite among the collection of Japanese songs he has heard, were enjoyably presented.

Bridges ‘Scherzetto’’ was communicated in natural directness and the vivid nuances were expressed by the contrast of the rich refined sound. Webber is an extraordinary artist. I think we can continue to count on him to pursue excellence.

By Mitsuko Orr

The Japan Times 2nd November 1986

Elgar and a Haydn Novelty


The Japan Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra’s subscription concert, conducted by Jiri Belohlavek, introduced the English cellist, Julian Lloyd Webber, featuring cello concertos by Elgar and Haydn, concluding the evening with Dvorak’s Seventh Symphony (Tokyo Bunka Kaikan Oct 22).

Lloyd Webber presented a beautifully shaped and warmly toned account of Elgar’s exacting E minor Concerto. It was an intensely enjoyable performance, with playing of strong feeling, finely spun singing line, and, particularly in the slow movement, deep poetry. The orchestral accompaniment guided by Belohlavek had good spirit.

The Haydn Concerto in D major (Hob.VIIb/4) we heard on this occasion was a novelty — not the familiar one of 1783, but a work based on a cello-piano manuscript version discovered in 1943, from which Lloyd Webber made his own performing version for cello and strings. Whether or not this music is really by Haydn is yet to be established. But Lloyd Webber’s enthusiastic playing certainly made a favorable case for it. (There is a Philips recording of this work, coupled with the fine C major Concerto, another recent Haydn discovery, in winch Lloyd Webber serves both as soloist and conductor of the English Chamber Orchestra).

Music and Musicians January 1986

Haydn Cello Concerto

One would be delighted to hear Julian Lloyd Webber’s performances of the Haydn C major and D major Cello Concertos with the English Chamber Orchestra (Philips 412 793—1 record; 412793—4 cassette; 412 793—2 compact disc) in the concert hall, and on disc they make an excellent coupling, which leaves Nos 2 and 3 for a subsequent album, although this particular recording was made by RCA and never released by them when they had Lloyd Webber under contract. It was a shrewd move of Philips to buy the tapes, for the result is a very attractive album, intensely musical, with excellent verve in the finales and some highly suitable phrasing from both soloist and orchestra. The cadenzas are, presumably, by Lloyd Webber, and good as they are they are not in the same class as those Britten wrote for Rostropovitch in the C major, but they are rather more in keeping historically than Britten’s.

Sydney Morning Herald 14th October 1985

Haydn Cello Concerto

“The solo part is agile, diverse in technique and entertaining. Julian Lloyd Webber demonstrated unfailingly his readiness to meet its challenges. In fact, although the performance here of the new Rodrigo concerto appeared to be the principle aim of the concert, its other main achievement was the introduction of an exceptionally gifted virtuoso in Haydn’s C major Concerto.”

Roger Covell