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Lloyd: Cello Concerto, The Serf Orchestral Suite No 1 / Ross

Release Date: 11/27/2001 
Label:  Albany Records   Catalog #: 458   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  George Lloyd
Performer:  Anthony Ross
Conductor:  David Alan Miller
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Albany Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Multi 
Length: 1 Hours 7 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players.


With this release of this wonderful music by George Lloyd, a composer closely associated with Albany Records from our very beginning, we proudly introduce our first SACD release. This dramatic improvement in sound is perfect for the colorfully scored music of George Lloyd. During his lifetime, George was always very conscious of the audio quality of the recordings of his music. Here at Albany Records, we are certain he would embrace this great advance in sound as just what his music needs. There will be more SACD releases of the music of George Lloyd in the near future. Both the works recorded here were
Read more completed during the last year of Lloyd’s life, although both had been in his mind for some time. He completed his “Cello Concerto” in July 1997, a year before his death at the age of 85. The first page of the composer’s score is inscribed “Have you no pity for those you would destroy?” Those of you who are aware of all the troubles Lloyd had getting his music performed will know something of what this statement means. Those who do not will find the informative program notes, written by his nephew, William Lloyd, most helpful. Here is a concerto for cello born of the same spirit and tradition as the Elgar Concerto. Anthony Ross is the principal cellist of the Minnesota Orchestra. Lloyd was 25 in 1938, when his second opera The Serf was given its first performances at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in London. Lloyd himself considered that the opera contained some of his best music, and it was therefore continually frustrating to him that the work did not receive a second hearing. Typically, Lloyd was determined that the music of The Serf would not lie unperformed forever, so he decided to rework sections of the opera into two orchestral suites. By 1997, he was already suffering from the heart failure which eventually killed him, but he worked twelve hours a day for eight weeks, knowing he might not get the work finished, and indeed, the strain of that effort probably did hasten his death. This recording was made in the great Troy Savings Bank Music Hall and in Super Audio CD sounds magnificent. Note that this is a hybrid SACD and can be played on both regular and SACD players.

R E V I E W S:

"Musically, this is an outstanding issue, which deserves to be in the collection of every music lover whose heart is not made of stone." (International Record Review)

"An arresting performance of an intensely personal and passionate cello concerto." (Gramophone)

Unlike other British composers born about the same time (1913) George Lloyd did not manage to keep out of military service when World War II began. When his ship was torpedoed in Arctic waters he suffered physical injuries and post-traumatic stress syndrome. When he attempted to return to music as a career, he found his style--a post-Elgarian romanticism with no trace of currently-faddish radicalism--wasn't "ugly" enough for the musical taste-makers of the day, who rejected him for daring to write such old fashioned music. Accordingly, Lloyd gave up music as a profession and followed with a successful career in business.

Only after he retired from that in 1978 did he return to full-time composing. To his surprise, he found his work accepted by both critics and audiences, who by now were ready for a return to beauty in new music. Even better, he found a champion in the American CD label Albany Records.

Albany now brings to SACD the release I would recommend above all others as a first choice in exploring Lloyd's music. Lloyd thought his opera The Serf, unplayed since its 1930s premiere, contained some of his best music. In his last year Lloyd returned to the score, extracting and arranging a considerable amount of it in the form of orchestral suites. The selections included here possess fine melodies, clearly defined emotional moods, and considerable variety. The idiom is a more serious version of the style found in soundtracks to British cinema scores of the time. A movement called "Sicily" is haunt-your-memory beautiful.

The cello concerto, a work of Lloyd's last several months, squarely confronts some of his darker moods. The pain, loss, and regret expressed here (as well as the conservative musical style and technique) raise comparison with Elgar's Cello Concerto--and the really good news is that Lloyd's piece is fully worthy of the comparison on all counts.

Making this disc well-nigh essential to cello fanciers is the fact that the performance is by a musician completely in command of the material. Anthony Ross, principal cellist of the Minnesota Orchestra, may not be a name well-known in classical circles, but by the evidence here he is deserving of stardom. From the passionate tone he creates in the exposed high-register notes of the beginning, he makes the cello a very human protagonist in this work whose extended variation-form seems to take a hero through various life-memories. This is one of those recordings that you are apt to be drawn back to repeatedly. The SACD sound is warm and accurate, with the extra channels used for discreet ambience.

-- Joseph Stevenson, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

Concerto for Cello by George Lloyd
Performer:  Anthony Ross (Cello)
Conductor:  David Alan Miller
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Albany Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1998; England 
Venue:  Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, New York 
Orchestral Suite no 1 "The Serf" by George Lloyd
Conductor:  David Alan Miller
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Albany Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1997; England 
Venue:  Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, New York 

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