An offering of two iconic British cello concertos, recorded with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and distinguished cellist Li-Wei Qin, separated by an atmospheric and musically detailed recording of Britten’s Four Sea Interludes conducted by Zhang Yi.
Li-Wei Qin first recorded for ABC Classics 20 years ago in 1994, on receiving first prize in Australia’s Young Performer of the Year in 1993.
Cellists dream of the opportunity to record the Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E Minor Op.85 just once in their life-time, but this release is Li-Wei’s second recording of a work which enjoys universal appeal. On reviewing Li-Wei’s first recording of the Elgar concerto, Andrew Mellor in the Classic FM Magazine observed his ‘Untarnished sensitivity... as well as impeccable tuning, a distinct quality of tone and a fine sense of yearning nostalgia’. Add to this pedigree one of the finest orchestra’s in the world - the London Philharmonic Orchestra - the result is this new recording revealing a performance with musical maturity in abundance, Li-Wei fully evoking the sadness of compassion and yearning in Elgar’s writing.
Li-Wei has been performing the Walton Cello Concerto since 2005, a concert review in Britain’s Bournemouth Echo noting ‘a superb performance of Walton’s wonderful Cello Concerto... Walton’s debt to Elgar is discernible, our debt to Li-Wei immeasurable.’ In that recording Li-Wei displays a kind of brilliance that transcends the sheer technical difficulties, delivering a truly remarkably and musically moving offering. In this recording Li-Wei replaces the familiar ending with the revision that Walton conceived in 1975 for the great Russian-born cellist Gregor Piatigorsky. The revised ending, first published in 2010 as part of Oxford University Press’ critical Walton Edition, does produce a weightier and more dramatic conclusion to the work, and in Li-Wei’s hands, the dozen or so additional bars results in a more poignant sense of tragedy.
Born in Shanghai Li-Wei moved to Australia as a young teenager, in 1993 winning ABC Young Performer of the Year. On completing secondary school, Li-Wei moved to the UK to study with Ralph Kirshbaum at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester and with David Takeno at the Guildhall School of Music in London. While studying in the UK, Li-Wei was selected as a BBC Young Generation Artist. In 1998 he was awarded the Silver Medal at the 11th Tchaikovsky International Competition in Moscow, and in 2001 was recipient of 1st prize in the Naumburg Competition in New York.
Li-Wei Qin has appeared as soloist at the BBC Proms three times in the last 10 years, and in 2011 was Artist in Residence of the Mecklenburg–Vorpommern Festival in Germany. A busy soloist internationally, recent concert appearances for Li-Wei includes the Deutches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic and China Philharmonic and in October 2014 he makes his Los Angeles Philharmonic début under the baton of Charles Dutoit.
On this recording Li-Wei plays a 1780 Joseph Guadagnini cello, generously loaned by Dr. and Mrs. Wilson Goh.