Howard Goodall – And The Bridge Is Love June 2015

And the Bridge is Love – English Music for Strings

This CD represents a first and a last. It is Julian Lloyd Webber’s first disc as a conductor but, sadly, it is also his last as a solo cellist because he has now had to end his distinguished career as a cellist due to health issues.

His envoi as a cellist is the piece by Howard Goodall which gives the album its title. Goodall wrote this piece for cello and string orchestra with harp in 2008. It was written in memory of Hannah Ryan, the cellist daughter of close family friends of Goodall, who died at a tragically young age in 2007. The title is taken from a book, The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder. The book is, in Goodall’s words, “a parable of the struggle to find meaning in chance and in inexplicable tragedy.” The piece exploits the cello’s capacity for songful melancholy. The soloist’s material is almost exclusively lyrical with the accompaniment mainly delicate and deliberately uncomplicated. Much of the piece is in a gentle vein and it forms a touching tribute. It seems to me to offer further evidence of Howard Goodall’s ability to communicate effectively with an audience, whether through his own music or when speaking about music more generally.

Elgar’s music features prominently in the programme. Perhaps that’s not surprising when one considers that throughout his career as a cellist Julian Lloyd Webber displayed empathy for Elgar’s music in his performances of the Cello Concerto. He leads a spirited performance of the Introduction and Allegro. He may not quite match the achievement of Sir John Barbirolli – another cellist turned conductor – in this piece (review) but his account of it is very enjoyable nonetheless. He also offers a cultivated reading of the Serenade, a piece which the ECO must have played countless times but which still sounds fresh here. Incidentally, as proof that one can always learn something, I was very interested to read in the useful notes by Peter Avis that the first professional performance of the Serenade, in 1896, was given, not in Britain, as I would have expected, but in Antwerp. I also enjoyed very much Lloyd Webber’s performance of Chanson de matin. This is light – or at least lighter – music but it’s a very superior example of the genre. There’s a family link here because Peter Avis points out that Lloyd Webber’s mother was a sometime pupil of W. H. ‘Billy’ Reed.

Family connections are more explicit through the inclusion of The Moon by Julian Lloyd Webber’s father. Apparently this was originally a part-song, written by William Lloyd Webber in 1950. He made the present arrangement for string orchestra shortly afterwards but it remained unperformed until his centenary year, 2014. I’ve heard a few works by William Lloyd Webber on disc in recent years and have enjoyed what I’ve heard. This piece can be added to that list of pleasing discoveries. It’s a charming miniature and it’s given here in a sensitive performance. I’m glad that Julian Lloyd Webber has included this little tribute to his father.

The Delius pieces are nicely done and Walton’s two fine miniatures from his excellent music for the film of Henry V are played with no little poetry. It’s hard to avoid the feeling that the short pieces by Vaughan Williams and Ireland are included to make up the numbers – the former in particular – but the Ireland piece is a most effective arrangement of music originally composed for brass band.

This is a very enjoyable anthology. I don’t know how much conducting Julian Lloyd Webber had done prior to this assignment but he obtains good and responsive playing from the ECO. It was a shrewd move to make a recording debut with music for strings, an idiom to which he clearly brings a practitioner’s understanding. All music-lovers will have been saddened by his enforced retirement as a cellist. However, it’s clear both from this recorded debut as a conductor and his recent appointment as Principal of Birmingham Conservatoire that we certainly have not seen the last of Julian Lloyd Webber. That can only be a good thing.

John Quinn

McAlister Matheson Music June 2015

And the Bridge is Love

This is a disc of many firsts and one unfortunate last – Julian Lloyd Webber’s final recording as a cellist before his retirement from playing due to a neck injury that affected his bowing arm. However, this disc also marks his first recording as a conductor.

He and the English Chamber Orchestra have chosen to explore some of the glorious highways and byways of English string music, the former being represented by deft, full-blooded accounts of Elgar’s Introduction and Allegro for Strings and Serenade for Strings. However, it is the lesser-known pieces that make this disc so attractive. Elgar’s Chanson de nuit and Chanson de matin are presented as world premiere recordings in orchestrations for strings by Elgar’s close friend W H Reed, the LSO’s distinguished leader from 1912 until 1935. So too is the exquisite Sospiri (Sighs), a short work for strings, harp and harmonium that Elgar dedicated to Reed.

Another first is William Lloyd Webber’s touching 1950 arrangement of his song The Moon, unperformed until 2014. The disc takes its title from Howard Goodall’s 2008 work for solo cello and strings, composed in memory of a teenage cellist friend who died tragically in 2007 and rooted firmly in the yearning, melodic English string-writing tradition. Arrangements by Fenby (of Delius’s Two Aquarelles), Vaughan Williams, Walton and Ireland round off a worthwhile project.

Anne McAlister June 2015

And the Bridge is Love – English Music for Strings

This recording, released in 2015, may be the final release to feature Julian Lloyd Webber as a cellist; neck injuries have forced him to make a transition to conducting, so the album, on which he appears in both capacities, is something of a milestone. It’s a remarkably personal document, featuring a previously unrecorded work, The Moon, by Julian (and Andrew) Lloyd Webber’s father and the title work by Howard Goodall, dedicated to a cellist who died at the age of 17. The best news, however, is that Lloyd Webber emerges as a solid talent with the baton, getting a big, distinctive sound out of the venerable English Chamber Orchestra in this set of exquisitely sentimental British string music. There are several more unusual pieces and world premieres here, including Elgar’s Sospiri, Op. 70, performed with its original harmonium, and two Elgar “chansons” transcribed from violin-and-piano works. But he also does well with more familiar repertory, lending grace to Elgar’s Tchaikovskian Serenade for strings, Op. 20, and weight to the Introduction and Allegro for strings, Op. 47. For an entire album of conservative British string orchestra music of the 20th and 21st centuries, Lloyd Webber realizes quite a variety of moods and keeps the orchestra under tight control in what must have been largely unfamiliar music, even in England. Recommended for those with the slightest sympathy toward English music.

by James Manheim

Music and Vision May 2015

CD Spotlight – English Music for Strings

‘Utmost Pleasure’

English music for strings – praised by HOWARD SMITH

‘… a gorgeous new release from Naxos …’

Here’s a musical gift deserving of a resounding hurrah. The English Chamber Orchestra (ECO), founded in 1960, is unsurpassed in string music.

And now the ECO is back in a gorgeous new release from Naxos — a generous selection of Britain’s fine, much loved, orchestral string music. A treasury of Elgar, Vaughan Williams, Delius, Ireland, Walton and others…

Pizzicato May 2015

Lloyd-Webber als Cellist und als Dirigent

And the Bridge is Love; English Music for Strings; Delius: 2 Aquarelles; Elgar: Introduction & Allegro for strings, Op. 47, Serenade for Strings in E minor, Op. 20, Chanson de Nuit, Op. 15 No. 1; Chanson de Matin, Op. 15 No. 2; Goodall: And the Bridge is Love; Ireland: Minuet (A Downland Suite); W. Lloyd Webber: The Moon; Vaughan Williams: Prelude Charterhouse Suite; Walton: Passacaglia – Death of Falstaff and Touch her soft lips from Henry V; English Chamber Orchestra, Julian Lloyd Webber, Cello & Ltg.; 1 CD Naxos 8.573250; 4/14 (69′) – Rezension von Remy Franck

Julian Lloyd Webber, der im vergangenen Jahr (2014) das Cellospiel aus medizinischen Gründen aufgeben musste, ist auf dieser CD in seinen letzten Celloaufnahmen und zugleich in seinen ersten Einspielungen als Dirigent zu hören.

Zusammen mit dem ‘English Chamber Orchestra’ hat er kurze Stücke britischer Komponisten aufgenommen, Musik von Elgar, Delius, Vaughan Williams, Ireland, Walton, Howard Goodall und von seinem Vater William Lloyd Webber. Nicht weniger als vier Kompositionen werden hier als Ersteinspielungen vorgelegt. Andere Stücke gehören zum Repertoire und waren schon oft auf Schallplatten zu hören. Sie zeigen, wie anspruchsvoll Lloyd Webber mit dieser manchmal als ‘leicht’ bezeichneten Musik umgeht, wie gut es ihm gelingt, Stimmungen aus den Farben heraus zu entwickeln und dabei nie sentimental zu werden. Das ‘English Chamber Orchestra’ folgt dem Dirigenten mit größter Aufmerksamkeit und trägt mit viel Raffinement zum Charme dieser Produktion bei.

This is Julian Lloyd Webber’s premiere recording as conductor and at the same time his last production as cellist. His conducting is as ambitious as his cello playing. He carefully develops atmospheres without getting sentimental. The English Chamber Orchestra plays vividly and with much refinement.

The Classical Reviewer 19th May 2015

And the Bridge is Love

With a vivid recording, Julian Lloyd Webber and the English Chamber Orchestra bring one of the finest discs of English Music for Strings currently available on a new release from Naxos It has recently been announced that cellist Julian Lloyd Webber has been appointed the new Principal of the Birmingham Conservatoire. I can think of no better musician to help ensure the future of musical education in Britain, thus making his appointment the ideal choice.

Since a neck injury forced his decision to retire as a cellist it is to be hoped that this new post will give Lloyd Webber opportunities to forge a new career. However, it is not only as the Principal of the Birmingham Conservatoire that this fine musician is forging new paths.

A new release from Naxos features Julian Lloyd Webber as conductor of the English Chamber Orchestra in a collection of English Music for Strings entitled And the Bridge is Love. This new recording includes no less than four world premiere recordings.

The strings of the English Chamber Orchestra really bite into the opening bars of Edward Elgar’s (1857-1934) Introduction and Allegro, Op. 47 (1905) before the music slows. Julian Lloyd Webber brings some particularly fine moments of hushed repose, so sensitive and thoughtful. The ECO provide a very fine string tone in some beautiful passages, offset by the most intense emotional moments. There is a beautiful care of dynamics, particularly when leading into faster passages. This is tip top string playing with terrific ensemble. Lloyd Webber pushes the music ahead with great drive before the glorious broad sweeping passages which lead towards the coda.

This is a particularly fine performance that must rank among the very best on record.

This conductor brings his fine musicianship to Elgar’s Sospiri, Op. 70 (1914) in a performance that draws the most exquisite playing from the ECO, subtly drawing moments of intensity and a richness of string texture that is really quite lovely.

Julian Lloyd Webber gives the world premiere recording of his father, William Lloyd Webber’s (1914-1982) The Moon (1950). This lovely little piece has a quintessential Englishness that fits perfectly into this programme; a lovely, subtle rise and fall with some lovely string playing.

Howard Goodall’s (b.1958) And the Bridge Is Love (2008) is another world premiere recording that gives this disc its title. This performance features Lloyd Webber as conductor and cello soloist. The title is a quotation from a Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Thornton Wilder (1897-1975) and was composed in memory of a young cellist, the daughter of a close friend of the composer.

The piece opens quietly on lower strings together with harp before Lloyd Webber brings a cello melody that arises, slowly becoming firmer and supported by an increasingly richer orchestral string sound. The music moves through some lovely passages, at times very much in the English tradition yet with a contemporary feel. Lloyd Webber finds much beauty as well as some terrific little phrases for cello that add interest to the music. There is a poignant coda, especially so if this is the last recording we are likely to have from this great cellist.

Ralph Vaughan Williams’ (1872-1958) The Charterhouse Suite began life as a Suite of Six Short Pieces for Piano published in 1921before being orchestrated by James Brown in collaboration with Vaughan Williams and renamed The Charterhouse Suite, after his old school and published in 1923. Here we are given just the short Prelude. It has a buoyant, jolly theme played here with crisp precision.

A lovely rhythmic buoyancy opens the Allegro Piacevole of Elgar’s Serenade for Strings, Op.20 (1892) bringing a subtle orchestral rubato and beautifully judged tempi. There is a beautifully shaped Larghetto with Lloyd Webber again finding lovely sonorities and beautiful, natural flow. The Allegretto – Come prima brings a lovely lilt, a gentle spring to the music as well as some fine string details.

It was Frederick Delius’ (1862-1934) amanuensis, Eric Fenby, that arranged the composer’s Two Songs to be sung of a summer night on the water (1917) for wordless unaccompanied chorus as Two Aquarelles (1917/1932). Here No.1: Lento, ma non troppo is beautifully done, just the right amount of ebb and flow with lovely string sonorities. No.2: Gaily, but not quick has a nice rhythmic lift, such a fleeting nature before it rises only to fall to a lovely coda. These two lovely miniatures are beautifully played.

Violinist, leader of the London Symphony Orchestra and friend of Elgar, W. H. (Billy) Reed arranged the composer’s Chanson De Nuit and Chanson De Matin for string orchestra in 1939. Lloyd Webber and the English Chamber Orchestra bring a calm, gentle stateliness as Chanson De Nuit, Op. 15, No. 1 (1897/1939) unfolds, before subtly allowing the music to rise, nicely shaped, beautifully phrased and wonderfully controlled. Chanson De Matin, Op. 15, No. 2 (1899/1939) is, again, beautifully shaped and phrased with fine flexible tempi.

William Walton’s (1902-1983) Two Pieces for Strings from Henry V (1944) are taken from his music for Laurence Olivier’s film of Shakespeare’s Henry V. Passacaglia: Death of Falstaff achieves a fine, dark opening, hushed and mysterious and with a depth that is often missed. The music opens out exquisitely before the hushed coda. To follow there is a lovely Touch her soft lips and part, gentle, exquisite and finely controlled.

John Ireland (1879-1962) wrote his A Downland Suite for the National Brass Band Championships in 1932. In four sections, Ireland later arranged the second and third sections for string orchestra, Geoffrey Bush arranging the first and fourth sections. Here Julian Lloyd Webber and the English Chamber Orchestra play No.3. Minuet: Allegretto Grazioso (1942) in a lovely performance that is beautifully paced and shaped, bringing some very fine playing from the orchestra.

With a vivid recording from Watford Colosseum, Watford, England this is one of the finest discs of such repertoire available. There are informative notes from Peter Avis and Howard Goodall.

Bruce Reader

BBC Radio 3 ‘CD Review’ 2 May 2015

And the Bridge is Love

Elgar: Introduction and Allegro; Serenade for Strings; Sospiri; Chanson de Matin; Chanson de Nuit

William Lloyd Webber: The Moon

Howard Goodall: And the Bridge is Love

Vaughan Williams: Charterhouse Suite – Prelude

Delius: Two Aquarelles

Walton: Henry V— Passacaglia, ‘Touch her soft lips and part’

Ireland: A Downland Suite-Minuet

Julian Lloyd Webber (‘cello), English Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Julian Lloyd Webber

Recorded at Watford Colosseum, 22nd to 24th April, 2014 Duration: 70:07 Naxos: 8.573250

‘What I like most is that Lloyd Webber knows how string players breath, understands how the bow works.’

‘There is a real sense of harmony with the players and as a result Julian gets really characterful soloistic playing out of the English Chamber Orchestra.’

‘It’s a joy to listen to, fabulous stuff and Julian brings a lushness to the strings.’

‘Elgar’s Sospiri – .the richness and beauty of the playing, sublimely encapsulated in the one piece.’

Delius Society Journal April/Spring 2015

CD Reviews – And the Bridge is Love

Elgar: Introduction and Allegro; Serenade for Strings; Sospiri; Chanson de Matin; Chanson de Nuit

William Lloyd Webber: The Moon

Howard Goodall: And the Bridge is Love

Vaughan Williams: Charterhouse Suite – Prelude

Delius: Two Aquarelles

Walton: Henry V— Passacaglia, ‘Touch her soft lips and part’

Ireland: A Downland Suite-Minuet

Julian Lloyd Webber (‘cello), English Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Julian Lloyd Webber

Recorded at Watford Colosseum, 22nd to 24th April, 2014 Duration: 70:07 Naxos: 8.573250

A splendid new CD with our Vice-President, Julian Lloyd Webber, conducting The English Chamber Orchestra in a wide-ranging programme of English Music for Strings. Possibly the highlight is the world premiere recording of Howard Goodall’s And the Bridge is Love. A most moving performance in which there is much love and warmth. There is sadness too, in that this work is dedicated to a young cellist who tragically died young and it’s the final recording which Julian will ever make. I remember hearing him play, for the first time, at a Music Society concert in Clitheroe in Lancashire, together with my young daughter – some 35 years ago! A further world premiere recording is by Julian’s father, William: The Moon. He had set to music the words of The Moon by the Welsh Poet, William Henry Davies, an arrangement for strings following shortly afterwards. This version, however, remained unperformed until 2014, his centenary year. A lovely, lyrical piece.

There are connections between several of the other works on the disc. Two never previously recorded arrangements of the two Chansons – Chanson de nuit and Chanson de matin by Elgar’s friend and biographer W H Reed. Billy Reed was leader of the LSO from 1912 to 1935 and Julian’s mother, Jean, studied piano and violin with him. And, as we all know, Elgar visited Delius at Grez-sur-Loing in 1933, some nine months before he died. Besides the various Elgar pieces and the Fenby-arranged Two Aquarelles – No 1 (Lento, ma non troppo) and No 2 (Gaily, but not quick) Delius, there are interspersed such gems as the Minuet from Ireland’s Downland Suite, Walton’s Two pieces for strings from Henry V – Passacaglia, Death of Falstaff and Touch her soft lips and part plus Vaughan William Charterhouse Suite – No 1 Prelude.

In all, an exquisitely performed disc, with soaring strings on some of the most well-known and loved joyful English melodies, together with two splendid previously unrecorded works. A total delight!

John Rushton

Elgar Journal April 2015

And the Bridge is Love

Elgar: Introduction and Allegro; Serenade for Strings; Sospiri; Chanson de Matin; Chanson de Nuit

William Lloyd Webber: The Moon

Howard Goodall: And the Bridge is Love

Vaughan Williams: Charterhouse Suite – Prelude

Delius: Two Aquarelles

Walton: Henry V— Passacaglia, ‘Touch her soft lips and part’

Ireland: A Downland Suite-Minuet

Julian Lloyd Webber (‘cello), English Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Julian Lloyd Webber

Here we have absolute delight tinged with a touch of sadness. Delight that the Society’s President has given us such a wonderful disc as conductor: sadness that it includes his final recording as a ‘cellist.

Howard Goodall’s And the Bridge is Love was composed in memory of a young ‘cellist, Hannah Ryan, who died in 2007, and it was premièred by Julian Lloyd Webber in 2008. It is a most moving piece, around 12 minutes long, and receives a most moving performance on this disc.

A ‘cellist, John Barbirolli, first recorded the Introduction and Allegro in 1927 and made the piece his own: now another takes on his mantle and proves a worthy successor. Lloyd Webber’s years of experience as a string player, combined with his natural sense of how the music should flow — and especially where it should breathe – give these performances by the English Chamber Orchestra a vibrant quality. Just listen to the Introduction and Allegro’s final pizzicato chord – a full, ringing. sound, perfectly balanced — and you will see just what one string player’s supreme ability can bring to a string group. Sospiri tugs at the heart-strings, at it should, and the Serenade sounds newly-minted. The two Chansons are given in arrangements for string orchestra by Billy Reed: well worth hearing, particularly as you’ll probably have recordings of Elgar’s orchestrations already.

To my mind, the other gem on this disc is the short piece by Lloyd Webber senior, arranged by him from a part-song of 1950, but not performed until last year. I happened to be playing the disc while others were in the house, and they were all drawn to the music room by The Moon.

The disc was produced by Andrew Keener, engineered by Mike Hatch and recorded in the Watford Colosseum – a triple guarantee of quality. It is, however, a shame that no-one thought to name the players in the solo quartet. The second violinist, in particular, is outstanding, both individually and as a member of the quartet. I remember my ten-year-old son telling me that playing second was much harder than first, as you didn’t just have tunes to play. There’s a lot in what he said.

Richard Wiley

BBC Music Magazine April 2015

AND THE BRIDGE IS LOVE Elgar: Introduction and Allegro; Serenade for Strings; Sospiri; Chanson de nuit; Chanson de matin; plus works by Vaughan Williams, William Lloyd Webber, Delius, Goodall, Walton and Ireland

English Chamber Orchestral

Julian Lloyd Webber (cello)

Noxos 8.573250 70:07 mins

Julian Lloyd Webber made this recording some months before announcing his unwished-for retirement from cello playing, due to a long-standing injury. So might conducting be an area that could fruitfully open up for him instead? On the evidence of this release, one would very much hope so. The only works he features in here as a soloist are Howard Goodall’s And the Bridge is Love (composed in memory of a family friend who had tragically died young), and The Moon by his father, William Lloyd Webber. To judge from Lloyd Webber Jnr’s trademark tawny-brown, gloss-free finely sustained sound, there’s no audible sign of any falling-off of quality in this department.

And as a conductor, he evidently has the ability to make a difference to collective performance-level (the English Chamber Orchestra plays characterfully and vividly at every point) while not getting in the music’s way — a combination of qualities nicely suited to this line-up of string works. Those by Elgar come across especially well (apart from Sospiri, here sounding a notch over-ripe). The Introduction and Allegro crackles along with crisp energy, with the four (uncredited) solo players delivering some lovely moments; and Lloyd Webber’s sureness of touch in the Serenade for Strings exactly captures the music’s unpretentious warmth.

Malcolm Hayes



(THE REST) ****


Mail on Sunday 15th March 2015


Julian Lloyd Webber And The Bndge Is Love. Naxos, out now *****

On this winning album, Julian Lloyd Webber emerges as a conductor of some distinction, drawing eloquent performances from the English Chamber Orchestra of an enticing blend of familiar and unfamiliar English music for strings, including four world premieres.

Touchingly, there is also Julian’s final appearance as a cellist, in a performance of Howard Goodall’s And The Bridge is Love, a moving elegy for the daughter of some close family friends, who died tragically young in 2007 aged only 17.

Julian displays his conducting mettle with an excitingly propulsive account of Elgar’s Introduction And Allegro, a masterpiece that has rarely sounded better on disc.

In more relaxed mood, he directs elegant performances of Elgar’s Serenade; his haunting Sospiri; and the Chansons De Matin and De Soir.

There’s also a touching tribute to Julian’s father, William, in a piece dad LW wrote in 1950 entitled The Moon, a work of real quality that more than justifies its inclusion here.

And there’s a brief Vaughan Williams rarity: the opening movement of his Charterhouse Suite, originally for piano but arranged for strings in 1923 under the composer’s supervision.

This is as lovely an album as I expect to hear this year, making a powerful case to put English string music up there among our nation’s greatest musical achievements.

David Mellor

Interlude January 27th, 2015

The Beauty of the English String Sound

We forget how much the English contributed to the beauty of orchestral music through their lush pastoral string writing. And the Bridge is Love, a new recording by the English Chamber Orchestra led by Julian Lloyd-Webber, brings all of this back to us. The recording is centred on music by Elgar, with excursions into Vaughan Williams, Delius, and up to modern composers such as Howard Goodall. And, because this is led by cellist Lloyd-Webber, the cello sound comes through beautifully.

Elgar, who really only achieved his breakthrough with the success of the Enigma Variations, begins the recording with two early 20th-century works: Introduction and Allegro for Strings, Op. 47 (1905) and 2 Sospiri, Op. 70 (1914), but later in the recording are arrangements by W.H. Reed, Elgar’s friend and biographer, of Elgar’s two Op. 15 works: the Chanson de nuit, Op. 15, No. 1 (1897) and the Chanson de matin, Op. 15, No. 2 (1899). Reed made these arrangements in 1939, but the works had originally been violin pieces, the second, written in 1897, dedicated to an amateur violinist in Worcester, and the first, written as a companion piece in 1899. The works were originally orchestrated by Elgar and performed in London in 1901, and these 1939 editions by Reed have never been recorded. They have a lighter feeling than Elgar’s arrangements and there’s a great deal of style in this performance.

The composer William Lloyd-Webber, father of Julian and Andrew, was a student of Elgar’s and his influence is evident in the work here. The song, ‘The Moon,’ setting a text by the Welsh poet William Henry Davies (1871-1940) appeared in 1950. Soon after, the composer arranged it for strings and it has never been recorded until now, a century after his birth.

Frederick Delius, quietly suffering in Paris from partial paralysis, had, as his amanuensis, the young composer Eric Fenby. Fenby made arrangements for string orchestra of two songs ‘to be sung of a summer’s night on the water,’ written for Charles Kennedy Scott and his Oriana Choir. The first performance of the a cappella work was in 1921. Fenby made his arrangements in 1932 and Delius’ wife, Jelka, sent them to Sir Thomas Beecham. Fenby’s arrangements gave a new life to the little works and they remain in the repertoire as orchestral, rather than choral works.

Other works on this recording include selections from Vaughan Williams’ The Charterhouse Suite, which itself is an arrangement of the 6 Short pieces for Piano; two works from William Walton’s music for the 1944 movie Henry V; and a selection from John Ireland’s A Dowland Suite (1942).

One notable work on the recording is the title work, Howard Goodall’s And the Bridge is Love, written in 2008. The title comes from Thornton Wilder’s novel The Bridge at San Luis Rey, and was written in honor of a young cellist who died in 2007. The work was commissioned by the Chipping Campden Festival and was given its première in 2008 with Julian Lloyd-Webber as soloist. This performance is carefully crafted and the work is beautiful and fits in well here, despite dating from some 69 to 80 years after most of the other works in this collection. Julian Lloyd-Webber has said that this performance of Howard Goodall’s work is his final recording as a cellist.

Julian and Jiaxin Lloyd Webber will be performing in Hong Kong on January 31st 2015.

Maureen Buja

David’s Review Corner February 2015

A disc of English string music that marks Julian Lloyd Webber’s debut recording as a conductor, and takes its title from Howard Goodall’s And the Bridge is Love. There is also sadness hidden away, as with this work for solo cello and strings Lloyd Webber brings to an end his career as a cellist, an injury to his shoulder preventing further concert appearances. When one door closes, another one opens, and we can now enjoy his exceptionally fine account of works by Elgar, an uncommonly virile and fast moving Introduction and Allegro opening a disc that finds the English Chamber Orchestra in fine form. That is equally true of their performance of the Serenade for Strings, though here Lloyd Webber takes a more leisurely view, the sadness he brings to slow central movement spilling over into the finale. Sospiri unfolds in an unhurried pace, and I much enjoy the unaffected reading of the two Chansons in the familiar string arrangement by William Reed Much tenderness in the two string pieces that Walton included in his film score for Shakespeare’s Henry V, and the two short Aquarelles by Delius in Eric Fenby’s arrangement. The novelty is the very attractive The Moon by the conductor’s father William Lloyd Webber which only received its premiere in 2014, and there is another world recording premiere in Goodall’s very sad work written in memory of a teenage cellist. Outstanding sound from the legendary Watford venue. I hope this the first of many from the Lloyd Webber baton. © 2015 David’s Review Corner

David Denton

Shropshire Star 14th April 2014

St Chad’s Church in Shrewsbury

As the warm spring sun began its descent over The River Severn and Quarry Park in Shrewsbury it was hard to imagine a setting more quintessentially English.

So it was entirely fitting that world renowned cellist Julian Lloyd Webber should present an evening of music largely by England’s most beloved composers inside the beautiful St Chad’s Church. But what made things different for last night’s Shropshire Music Trust concert, was that for the most part Lloyd Webber was without his 1690 Stradivarius cello, instead taking on the role of conductor. Earlier he had admitted that he had learned to “take a back seat” in conducting the two-dozen strong string orchestra, and he guided them through an evening which largely concentrated on the typically warm and pastoral sounds of the English classical repertoire. Vaughan William’s short and bubbly Prelude from ‘Charterhouse Suite’ gave ways to the grandness of Elgar’s Serenade For Strings, the sound in St Chad’s sumptuous and full.

Delius’s Two Aquarelles conjoured up a moonlit, misty scene, with the cellos threatening to break into a sea shanty, while Elgar’s Sospiri was elegant and stately. With the audience sat in the round and intimately close to the orchestra it occasionally felt as though we were eavesdropping on a private rehearsal.

When Lloyd Webber eventually took to the front of the stage with his cello it was for an electrifying reading of Howard Goodall’s beautiful And The Bridge Is Love, Lloyd Webber’s playing lean, warm and supple. After the interval he returned with his wife Jiaxin Lloyd Webber for a short Italian-flavoured interlude with the Vivaldi concerto for two cellos. Sat side by side the two cellists weaved around each other in a piece originally written for mandolins, but which worked marvellously in this arrangement.

The family link was maintained when Lloyd Webber premiered his father William’s composition The Moon, originally written for voices but arranged here for orchestra. It was a piece which fitted in perfectly with the theme and feel of the rest of the evening. In a change to the advertised programme, the evening concluded not with Vaughan William’s Fantasia on a theme by Thomas Tallis but instead with the pomp and fireworks of Elgar’s Introduction and Allegro, a rousing conclusion to a splendid evening.

By Ian Harvey

The Daily Telegraph 23rd May 2008

The Chipping Campden Festival

Howard Goodall, And the Bridge is Love

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 Independent 27th May 2008

The Chipping Campden Festival

Howard Goodall, And the Bridge is Love

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.

Music Web International May 2008

The Chipping Campden Festival

Howard Goodall, And the Bridge is Love

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: ****