Hugh Wood: Violin Concerto; Cello Concerto

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

WORKS: Violin Concerto; Cello Concerto
PERFORMER: Manoug Parikian (violin), Moray Welsh (cello); Royal Liverpool PO/David Atherton
CATALOGUE NO: D 082 ADD Reissue (1978)
A timely reissue – especially given the well-deserved interest generated by NMC’s recent recording of Hugh Wood’s Symphony and Scenes from Comus (reviewed January 2002). When the Cello and Violin Concertos were first heard in, respectively, 1969 and 1972, the done thing would have been to stress their Schoenbergian credentials. Well, there are passing resemblances to the later, 12-note Schoenberg, but what’s rather more striking listening now is how Romantic, even English Romantic these two concertos feel. In fact, just when you might be thinking that there’s more Walton than Berg, more English pastoral melancholia than Viennese Angst, Wood deftly reveals that one of the Cello Concerto’s leading motifs is actually taken straight from Elgar’s Cello Concerto – about as unfashionable as you could get in the late Sixties, but sounding utterly logical (intellectually and emotionally) today. So, yesterday’s passé turns out to be more enduring than things that were once thought more respectably up-to-date. The performances are persuasive and authoritative, especially that of Manoug Parikian in the Violin Concerto – I defy you not to be drawn in by the strange magic of the opening. The recordings sound as vivid and clear as they did when the LP appeared in 1978. Good to have them back. Stephen Johnson