Violin Concerto R78

There are two reviews of Violin Concerto recordings in the Gramofile records on the net since 1983, both of which are currently in print. Not included is a review of the excellent John Georgiadis recording with the LSO under Vernon Handley on Lyrita vinyl - an LP well worth tracking down.

Chandos CHAN8807
Mordkovitch/Ulster Orch/Handley
Published September 1990

I still have a clear recollection of hearing the Prom broadcast of the first performance of Moeran's Violin Concerto in July 1942 when Arthur Catterall was the soloist. It swept me off my feet and for days afterwards I was haunted by it. The spell, I fear, has not survived the passing of nearly 50 years, in spite of my hearing several excellent performances by the Halle in the Barbirolli era. Today I would rate the Cello Concerto much higher among English concertos and in Moeran's own works.

What captivated me at first, of course, must have been the finale and in particular its last five minutes, a most moving elegy which Lydia Mordkovitch plays very beautifully on this excellent new recording. Generally, though, the work is too long and diffuse and there is too much rather self-conscious Irish-jiggery. But if this doesn't worry you and you can surrender to its rhapsodic musings and gusts of passion and forget its obvious debt to Elgar and Delius, then this is as good a performance as you could wish, recorded with the clarity and fidelity that are the hallmark of Chandos recordings. The Ulster Orchestra plays superbly, so that Moeran's attractive and colourful scoring gets its full due; and, of course, Vernon Handley is a sympathetic interpreter.


Symposium mono (Full price) (CD) SYMCD1201
Sammons/BBC SO/Boult
Published May 1999

We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Lionel Hill (from whose private collection the present triptych was quarried) that he managed to persuade his father-in-law, the great Albert Sammons, to take up a work he was surely born to play. For those who love Moeran’s Violin Concerto as much as I do, hearing this glorious broadcast performance with Sir Adrian Boult and the BBC SO from April 1946 will be an intensely moving experience. Sammons plays with great poetry and sweetness of tone, while Boult’s masterful accompaniment is a model of enviable cogency and scrupulous sensitivity. In his booklet-essay, Hill (whose close friendship with Moeran is touchingly annotated in Lonely Waters; Thames: 1985) describes how ‘over the following months I moved Heaven and Earth to get HMV or Decca to record a performance with Sammons and Barbirolli – all to no avail.’ That same year, Sammons gave his last concert performance ever (of the Elgar) before he contracted the Parkinson’s disease that was to blight the remaining 11 years of his life.


All reviews ©Gramophone Magazine, Haymarket Publishing

©2011 The Worldwide Moeran Database



...It swept me off my feet and for days afterwards I was haunted by it...


...Moeran's attractive and colourful scoring gets its full due...


...Sammons plays with great poetry and sweetness of tone...