Concert review: Julian and Jiaxin Lloyd Webber, Edinburgh

A TALE of Two Cellos might have been much shorter had Julian and Jiaxin Lloyd Webber not trawled through such wide-ranging repertoire for suitable material to arrange.

Queens Hall. Picture: Jon Savage
Queens Hall. Picture: Jon Savage
Queens Hall. Picture: Jon Savage

Julian and Jiaxin Lloyd Webber

Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh

* * *

Because the cello so closely resembles the human voice, natural choices were Rachmaninov’s chorus The Waves are Dreaming, Purcell’s duet Lost is my Quiet and Rubinstein’s song The Angel. But the couple also unearthed rarely heard gems such as Roger Quilter’s Summer Sunset, Piazzolla’s charming waltz The Little Beggar Boy and Arvo Part’s hypnotic Estonian Lullaby, complete with soporific bars of silence.

Although Julian plays a Stradivarius and Jaixin doesn’t, the combined cello sound is warm and seamless – even when they playfully swaped instruments in Joseph Barnby’s Sweet and Low.

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Over the years, Julian has championed his father William’s music and the lilting Moon Silver is testimony to his great gift for melody. His brother, Andrew, demonstrates this too in his sublime 1982 tribute to their father, Pie Jesu.

Adding heft to the predominantly light repertoire were Julian’s spellbinding performance of Faure’s Elegie and Manuel de Falla’s dizzy Ritual Fire Dance, while Jiaxin delivered spirited versions of Bach’s Adagio in G and Prelude and Gigue from Cello Suite No.1. Providing solid support throughout was accompanist Pam Chowhan, who played Rachmaninov’s Prelude in G sharp minor and Debussy’s Jardins sous la pluie.

Julian’s informal and witty introductions made for a relaxed and enjoyable evening which concluded with the Everly Brothers’ classic All I Have To Do Is Dream.

(Seen on 6.2.14)