Sir Donald Tovey: Cello Concerto, Air for strings, Elegiac Variations

(7 customer reviews)

Catalogue No: TOCC0038
EAN/UPC: 5060113440389
Release Date: 06.04.2006
Composer: Sir Donald Tovey
Artists: Alice Neary, George Vass, Gretel Dowdeswell, Ulster Orchestra

Donald Tovey (1875–1940) has long been known as one of the finest writers on music in English – but he saw himself primarily as a composer. His Cello Concerto – written for his friend Pablo Casals in 1932-33 – may be the longest in history; indeed, as he worked on the score he wrote to a friend that the first movement would be a 'record-breaker’ and 'much the juiciest’ music he had yet produced. The work sits mid-way between Brahms and Elgar, but has a lyrical and dignified voice that is uniquely Tovey’s. The contrasting tone of the dark, heroic Elegiac Variations was inspired by the death of Robert Hausmann, cellist of the Joachim Quartet and a cherished chamber-music partner of Tovey’s. And the charming Air for strings reveals his delight in a well-turned Classical theme.

Alice Neary, cello
Ulster Orchestra, orchestra
George Vass, conductor
Gretel Dowdeswell, piano

Listen To This Recording:

    Cello Concerto, Op. 40 (1932t33)

  1. I. Allegro Moderato
  2. II. Andante Maestoso
  3. III. Intermezzo: Andante innocente, con moto quasi allegretto
  4. IV. Rondo: Allegro giocoso
  5. Air (Andante cantabile) for strings (1933) [arr. Peter Shore]
  6. Elegiac Variations, Op. 25, for cello and piano (1909)

7 reviews for Sir Donald Tovey: Cello Concerto, Air for strings, Elegiac Variations

  1. :

    “Alice Neary plays this demanding work with immense skill and dedication, and she is impressively supported by the Ulster Orchestra conducted by George Vass. The disc also includes a charming Air from an early quartet and recently arranged for orchestral strings by Peter Shore and the Elegiac Variations for cello and piano (Gretel Dowdeswell) which Tovey wrote in 1909 in memory of the cellist of the Joachim Quartet. A revelatory issue.” —Michael Kennedy, The Sunday Telegraph

  2. :

    “Tovey (1875-1940) was, of course, highly respected as a writer on music, and remains so, and although he saw himself primarily as a composer, posterity has deemed otherwise. Make no mistake, the Cello Concerto is a fascinating work that one wants to get to know better – and this recording now allows that to happen – and the Air is a jewel of a piece.” —Colin Anderson, Classical Source

  3. :

    “Harnessing the musical power of the modern orchestra and a fine young virtuoso, the UK label Toccata has done an immeasurable service to English music.” —Lawrence Vittes, Audiophile Audition

  4. :

    “Back in 1975 and the days of open-reel recording I taped off the air a centenary performance of Tovey’s Cello Concerto. Thirty years later, long after tape and tape-recorder were history, I could still effortlessly recall to mind the Concerto’s glorious opening theme, as memorable as that of Bruckner’s Seventh Symphony, and not dissimilar in mood. The commercial recording at last of this wonderful work alone amply justifies Toccata’s existence – thank you and bring on lots more!” —David J. Brown

  5. :

    “All credit to Martin Anderson’s Toccata Classics for originality in spinning together this varied and tonally lyrical Soviet song anthology. Varied it may be but it has a golden thread in the form of Robert Burns and his poetry.…If you enjoy songs by Britten, Poulenc or Finzi you will find reward in these.” —Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International

  6. :

    “If you’ve enjoyed grappling with Tovey’s large-scale Symphony in D, it’s worth persevering. Alice Neary performs valiantly, with sympathetic … support from George Vass and the Ulster Orchestra. Throw in the engaging fill-ups, decent sound and assiduously detailed bookletnotes, and it adds up to yet another intriguing release from this young label.” —Gramophone Magazine

  7. :

    “…this concerto is a five-star chef’s recipe of gorgeous, if somewhat derivative music, magnificently played by Alice…” —Jerry Dubins, Fanfare

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