Peers Coetmore

E. J. Moeran: Cello Concerto; Cello Sonata; Prelude

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E.J. Moeran is not a name that's come across very often. Although during his lifetime, the English composer was rather prolific and even well-regarded, few of his compositions have survived to modern times and those that have are seldom performed. The three works heard on this Lyrita album stem from his unhappy marriage to cellist Peers Coetmore and are considered by some to be among his strongest works. The liner notes even claim that Moeran's Cello Concerto is "one of the most successful twentieth century cello concertos," although this claim is certainly unsubstantiated. Coetmore is the soloist on this album, appearing with the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Adrian Boult. Unfortunately, no aspect of this album does any favors for the obscurity of Moeran's works. Coetmore is well past her playing prime and struggles mightily with everything from intonation, articulation, sound projection, coherent musical interpretation, and even maintaining steady tempos. Surprisingly, the LPO is not much better off; the orchestra sounds as if it is sight-reading throughout the performance, and not even doing a stellar job of it. Rhythms across sections are a mess, and there's virtually no connection between soloist and orchestra. The album also features the Cello Sonata in A minor with pianist Eric Parkin. Nothing improves with a change of instrumentation; Coetmore's playing is still difficult to sit through and little sense is made of Moeran's work.

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