Messiaen ‘Louange a l’eternite de Jesus’

BBC Music Magazine November 1993

Messiaen’s ‘Quartet for the End of Time’

Julian Lloyd Webber (vc); John Lenehan (pf).

“Lloyd Webber possesses a magnificent rich tone (and instrument). The inclusion of the cello solo from Messiaen’s “Quartet for the End of Time’ was an inspired idea.”

Gramophone October 1993

Cello Song

Julian Lloyd Webber (vc); John Lenehan (pf).

As the title of this disc implies, all the pieces contained herein are rather in the same slowish- paced, lyrical vein, but their sequence has been cleverly chosen so that there is still plenty of variety to keep the listener’s attention. Some of the items are original cello and piano pieces, others are skilful arrangements, and there is a good mixture ofwell-known and unusual offerings. Elgar’s bassoon Romance translates particularly well to the cello, as do the Brahms, Debussy and Dvoräk songs, and only in the arrangement of Grieg’s piano piece To the Spring did I feel that a cello was a little out of place. The Messaien excerpt is the longest and the most profound item, and it exists quite happily äs an entity away from the rest of the Quatuor.

Throughout the programme Julian Lloyd Webber plays with exceptional sensitivity, sympathy and tonal beauty – in fact it would be difficult to find better performances of this kind of repertoire anywhere on records of today or yesterday. John Lenehan gives good support, and Philips have provided a mellow, roomy quality of recording.

Alan Sanders