The Cornerstone of Solo Cello Repertoire

Classical Academy | Orchestral Music | Composers 


Edward Elgar's Cello Concerto is undoubtedly the cornerstone of solo cello repertoire. Composed in the aftermath of the First World War, it stands as a musical reflection of those terrible events, both contemplative and elegiac. Poignantly, the piece was also Elgar's last notable work.


For such a famous work, the piece had a disasterous premier when it opened the London Symphony Orchestra's 1919-20 season. At the expense of Elgar's work (conducted by the composer himself), the orchestra's conductor Albert Coates vastly overran his rehearsal time: "that brutal, selfish, ill-mannered bounder" wrote Lady Elgar. Following the performance, the Observer's critic at the time said "never, in all probability, has so great an orchestra made so lamentable an exhibition of itself". Consequently, more than a year passed by until the piece received a second performance in London. Celebrated cellist Jacqueline du Pré that made the work famous, her 1960 recording of  the piece so full of passion.


Take a quiet moment out of your day to acquaint yourself once more to this great work, performed here by Yoohong Lee on cello alongside the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.