HM's star cellist takes on the Elgar Concerto in London
As formidably accomplished a reading of the Elgar as one would expect from such high-class perormers. Jean-Guihen Queyras is a recomandingly secure and articulate soloist, and he enjoys attentive, typically selfless support throughout from Jiri Belohlavek and the BBC SO.Their reading fells like a big statement but is occasionally a little heavy on its pins and perhaps wanting something in underlying thrust and momentum - personnaly speaking, I prefer both the opening Moderato and sublime slow movement to move on just a tad more than they do here. However, what concerns me most is that these artists don't always manage to convey this music's extraordinarily potent mix of regret, intimacy and grace (and some of Queyras's pianissimos can also verge on the perilously self-aware). Among recent contenders, Jia Wang (ABC Classics), Paul Watkins (Chandos) and Antonio Meneses (Avie) are all more naturally attuned to the iodiom - and in the finale, when the skies begin ta darken from Elagr's Poco piu lento marking at fig 66 (6'27"), Watkins's endearingly communicative and deeply tender advocacy in particular really does touch to the marrow every time.
As for the remainder, both the lovely Dvork miniatures are idiomatically surveyed; and while the Tchaikovsky likewise brings lots to praise in terms of impressive co-ordination, meticulous preparation and thoughtful observation, there isn't alaways quite the combustible spark, engaging warmth or sheer temperament that would tempt me back for repeated visits. Ripe sound and truthful balance, though the Maida Vale acoustic is a little lacking in expansive glow.

Andrew Achenbach