Cello Concert E Minor, Op 85: II: Lento Allegro Molto
Cello Concert E Minor, Op 85: III: Adagio
Cello Concert E Minor, Op 85: IV: Allegro Moderato Allegro Ma Non Troppo
Sea Pictures, Op. 37: I: Sea Slumber Song
Sea Pictures, Op. 37: II: In Haven
Sea Pictures, Op. 37: III: Sabbath Morning At Sea
Sea Pictures, Op. 37: IV: Where Corals Lie
Sea Pictures, Op. 37: V: The Swimmer
This is rightly regarded as the finest recording of Elgar's attractive and elegiac Cello Concerto. It's held in almost irrationally high esteem in the UK, largely because of the universal affection for Jacqueline Du Pré,... more » the wife of Daniel Barenboim, whose early death from multiple sclerosis cut short what would have been a stellar career. This disc is equally noteworthy for Janet Baker's magnificent singing of the Sea Pictures, the composer's only orchestral song cycle. It's not Elgar's fault if the tune of the last song sounds like an excessively inflated version of "Hello, Dolly!" A classic then, even if neither work is a raging masterpiece. --David Hurwitz« less
This is rightly regarded as the finest recording of Elgar's attractive and elegiac Cello Concerto. It's held in almost irrationally high esteem in the UK, largely because of the universal affection for Jacqueline Du Pré, the wife of Daniel Barenboim, whose early death from multiple sclerosis cut short what would have been a stellar career. This disc is equally noteworthy for Janet Baker's magnificent singing of the Sea Pictures, the composer's only orchestral song cycle. It's not Elgar's fault if the tune of the last song sounds like an excessively inflated version of "Hello, Dolly!" A classic then, even if neither work is a raging masterpiece. --David Hurwitz
"There is no greater recording of this piece--everything is flawless: peerless solo playing from DuPre, totally sympathetic accompaniment from Barbirolli, and recorded sound that sounds like it was done yesterday. The sheer emotion from both soloist and conductor is almost shocking--fierce, lamenting, nostalgic, wistful; whatever the piece calls for, they supply it. It's interesting how a very young soloist (DuPre was 20 when the recording was made) and an older conductor (Barbirolli was 66) should seem so sympatico with one another. Indeed, it's amazing how penetrating DuPre's interpretation is for someone so young--she doesn't just play the piece, she IS the piece!The cello concerto is one of the 2 or 3 greatest ever composed. Sea Pictures is a lesser work--not a masterpiece, but the performance here is so definitive that Baker and Barbirolli almost make it SOUND like a masterpiece. Mediocre poetry, very good music, and a great recording. Again, the sound is first class.For years, EMI had a series of recordings called "Great Recordings of the Century." This is surely one that earned the moniker."
But a few words
KH | 10/01/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There is just no finer recording of this work available. Jacqueline Du Pre owned this work like Rostropovich owns the Dvorak concerto. Frankly, I doubt it will ever be surpassed. Without question, one of the finest recordings ever produced and justly recognized as Ms. Du Pre's greatest artistic achievement. Dame Janet's recording of the "Sea Picture" only adds to the irresistibility of this CD. "Where Corals Lie" is nothing short of magical. Personally, I can never listen to it just the once. A minimum of three consecutive hearings is required in my house. Utterly charming music making. Barbirolli (not unlike Boult), understood Elgar's music like few other conductors. In short, BUY IT, TODAY!!!!"
Great DuPre, but Let's Not Forget Dame Janet!
KH | 02/17/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Given the popularity of Hillary and Jackie -- and the buzz that film has generated in the music bizz -- I'm sure that most people are buying this CD for Jacqueline DuPre's splendid rendering of the Elgar cello concerto. I certainly agree that her's is the best recording out there of Elgar's darkest and most heartbreaking work. But my particular interest in this recording is the "flip side" of the disc: "Sea Pictures." True, Elgar's only orchestral song set does not reach the level of Ravel's "Sheherazade" or even Berlioz' "Les Nuits d'Ete. However, there is plenty of substance in the 5 songs in the set and Dame Janet Baker's performance is truly wonderful. Her voice is incredibly flexible -- not just in the traditional sense of being able to sing many notes at lightspeed - but also being able to change color and shading at will to capture every nuance of the music. At the same time she doesn't try to create subtlety where it doesn't exist and the total effect is forthright, unpretentious, just right. I've been a fan of Dame Janet's for getting on for 30 years now and am delighted that this recording -- which showcases a great voice in its prime -- is available again."
Ed Luhrs | Long Island, NY USA | 03/14/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Writing a review for this album is a bit like preaching to the converted, but for those unfamiliar with Jacqueline Du Pré and Dame Janet Baker, these selections are legendary among their output. Conductor John Barbirolli ties the two performances together with the usual warmth and vigor. The Elgar Cello Concerto speaks a much different language than the composer's grand Violin Concerto. While the Violin Concerto exudes a bold, magical quality, the Cello Concerto is a prolonged and severe lament. What Du Pré brings to her performance here is a kind of sad ecstasy. As David Hurwitz once wrote, it gives most English folk "the weepies," as it is universally considered among the signature performances of her youthful heyday. This recording in part explains why the Cello Concerto is somewhat better known than the amazing (and don't forget grand) Violin Concerto. The excellent film Hillary and Jackie has helped its status quite a bit as well. Any single performance that can lift a work to such heights has to be worth hearing, right? The Sea Pictures are comprised of rather pungent lyrical poems, including one sweet number written by Elgar's wife, and another that chronicles the plight of a seafarer who is saddened that he can't spend Sunday on land in church. These poems, coming as they do from a distinctly Victorian sensibility, may bring a quizzical smirk to many faces. The music once again lifts them to another level, and Baker is an important part of that. So, for those unfamiliar with these works, here is a great place to start."
A timeless feat
danielinyaracuy | San Felipe, Yaracuy Venezuela | 03/18/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Although a rather old recording now, this version of Elgar's cello concerto is timeless. The composition of a aging and dispirited composer is rendered superbly by a young artist and a wise director. It is a constant wonder on how the sadness of Elgar after the war, perhaps the realization that for all his qualities he was not one of the top composers, and his failing body conducted him finally to write his true masterpiece. And the wonder continues when we see how transparently all those feelings come thorough Ms. Du Pre fingers under Mr. Barbirolli direction. One is left elated with the redemptive power of music to all the ills that affect us. Oh, and before I forget, the Sea Pictures are presented here in the possibly best rendition that they ever got, Dame Janet Baker making them sound better than what they really are."