Although his brief life prevented him from being particularly prolific (he died in 1950, aged 55), E.J. Moeran was a fine composer with a distinctive and very attractive voice. It’s odd that his music hasn’t received more acclaim. After all, there are plenty of French and Spanish composers, including Falla, Dukas, and Mompou, who wrote very little and yet get plenty of attention. Moeran certainly was in their league in his best work, and both the Cello Concerto and the Serenade belong in that category.
Composed for his wife, Peers Coetmore, the concerto is suffused with the spirit of Irish folk song, but also contains an edge to the harmony that places it far beyond the droopy musings of the English “cow pat” school. GuyRead more Johnston’s playing here is as fine as in any version yet recorded; and with tempos marginally fleeter than the competition on Chandos, this version may well become the reference recording for the work. Credit for that certainly goes equally to JoAnn Falletta, who also offers the scintillating neo-classical Serenade in its original version containing eight movements instead of the usual six.
The program concludes with two charming miniatures, Whythorne’s Shadow, and Lonely Waters, the latter with its folk-song motto sung quite prettily at the end by Rebekah Coffey (there’s also a purely orchestral version). Excellent, well-balanced engineering completes this wholly recommendable release.
Concerto for Cello in B minorby Ernest John Moeran Performer:
Guy Johnston (Cello)
Period: 20th Century Written: 1945; England
Cello Concerto: I. Moderato
Cello Concerto: II. Adagio
Cello Concerto: III. Allegretto deciso, alla marcia
Serenade in G major (original version): I. Prologue: Allegro
Serenade in G major (original version): II. Air: Lento, ma non troppo
Serenade in G major (original version): III. Intermezzo: Allegretto
Serenade in G major (original version): IV. Galop: Presto
Serenade in G major (original version): V. Minuet: Tempo di minuetto
Serenade in G major (original version): VI. Rigadoon: Con brio, ma tempo moderato
Serenade in G major (original version): VII. Forlana: Andante con moto
Serenade in G major (original version): VIII. Epilogue: Allegro un poco maestoso
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
Excellent RecordingJune 30, 2014By Henry S. (Springfield, VA)See All My Reviews"An enchanting cello concerto opens this outstanding recording of works by EJ Moeran. Centered around one of the most ravishingly beautiful Adagios you'll ever encounter, the entire work sparkles with subdued, brilliant textures. Cellist Guy Johnson's cello sings its heart out almost non-stop throughout the entire concerto, and the work ends on a note of optimism and good cheer. The excellent Serenade follows, with a procession of mostly dance tunes displaying an English/Irish twist- light music and a real treat. Two short works (one with a soprano vocal) round out a thoroughly captivating recording. The Ulster Orchestra is excellent, as usual, as is Naxos' sound quality. Good stuff, and highly recommended."Report Abuse