This recording, released in 2015, may be the final release to feature Julian Lloyd Webber as a cellist; neck injuries have forced him to make a transition to conducting, so the album, on which he appears in both capacities, is something of a milestone. It's a remarkably personal document, featuring a previously unrecorded work, The Moon, by Julian (and Andrew) Lloyd Webber's father and the title work by Howard Goodall, dedicated to a cellist who died at the age of 17. The best news, however, is that Lloyd Webber emerges as a solid talent with the baton, getting a big, distinctive sound out of the venerable English Chamber Orchestra in this set of exquisitely sentimental British string music. There are several more unusual pieces and world premieres here, including Elgar's Sospiri, Op. 70, performed with its original harmonium, and two Elgar "chansons" transcribed from violin-and-piano works. But he also does well with more familiar repertory, lending grace to Elgar's Tchaikovskian Serenade for strings, Op. 20, and weight to the Introduction and Allegro for strings, Op. 47. For an entire album of conservative British string orchestra music of the 20th and 21st centuries, Lloyd Webber realizes quite a variety of moods and keeps the orchestra under tight control in what must have been largely unfamiliar music, even in England. Recommended for those with the slightest sympathy toward English music.
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AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|The Charterhouse Suite (arranged from 6 Short Pieces for piano)|
|Serenade for Strings, Op. 20|
|Pieces (2), Op. 15|
|Two Pieces for Strings from Henry V|
|A Downland Suite|