The Strad issue
An eloquent account of a rarely heard British cello concerto
Guy Johnston (cello) Rebekah Coffey (soprano) Ulster Orchestra/JoAnn Falletta
Written in 1945, Moeran’s Cello Concerto is a lyrical work. It is given a sensitive and persuasive rendition by British cellist Guy Johnston, who is expressively partnered by JoAnn Falletta and the Ulster Orchestra. The melancholic and turbulent melodic invention is initially striking and richly served by the cello’s deep timbres in the opening Moderato and the darker Adagio.
Johnston’s eloquent interpretation is well-shaped and given a natural bloom in this ambient recording. The finale juxtaposes robust rustic folk elements with more reflective nostalgia. Yet despite Johnston’s intense advocacy of this movement, its impact is somewhat diluted by Moeran’s tendency to drift into seamlessly mellifluous winding melodies.
The other works on this disc are cast in a pastoral style that oscillates between allusions to Delius and Vaughan Williams. The Serenade in G major is the most fluent in reflecting this pleasant if derivative lyrical idiom, while Lonely Waters’s wistful modality is evocatively expressed by soprano Rebekah Coffey.