Zukerman” – Works of VAUGHAN WILLIAMS & ELGAR [TrackList follows] – Pinchas Zukerman, violin & cond. with the Royal Philharmonic – Decca CD 478 9386, TT: 71:00 (2/26/16) [Distr. by Universal] ****:

Lovely and memorable renderings of English classics by Pinchas Zukerman and the RPO.

Do we need yet another collection of the English music of Ralph Vaughan Williams and Edward Elgar? If the violin soloist is Pinchas Zukerman and the orchestra is the Royal Philharmonic the answer is a decisive yes.

Zukerman, talking about The Lark Ascending which leads off this disc has said “Everything I ever wanted to do on the fiddle I could do in this music. I just felt so completely at home, in every sense… Starting to conduct this music was even more amazing”.

Zukerman plays and conducts a definitive CD of some of the best in English music: Vaughan Williams Tallis Fantasia and Elgar’s Introduction & Allegro and Serenade for Strings frame shorter works such as Salut d amour, Chanson de Matin and Chanson de Nuit.

The disc also features the world premiere recording of In Moonlight: an arrangement for solo viola, strings and harp of Elgar’s famous Canto Popolare.

Zukerman has long had an affinity for English music, and this is his first recording of The Lark Ascending in 40 years. Although most of the works on this disc will be familiar to many of our readers, Zukerman brings each piece some new life with his rich and emotional interpretations.

He’s aided by a lush and nuanced performance from the Royal Philharmonic, and a fine recording made in London’s Cadogan Hall. Some will look at the program and say they have most of what is on the disc, but even a cursory listen will provide an incentive to enjoy these works anew.

TrackList:

VAUGHAN WILLIAMS:

The Lark Ascending

Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis

ELGAR:

Serenade for Strings in e, Op. 20

Salut d’amour, Op. 12

Chanson de Matin, Op. 15 No. 2

Chanson de Nuit, Op. 15 No. 1

Canto Popolare (In Moonlight) arr. Milone. (World premiere)

Introduction & Allegro for strings, Op. 47

—Mel Martin