Moeran married Peers
Coetmore in 1945 - the year of the Cello
Concerto. In the year of the Concerto's
completion she premiered it over Radio
Eire in Dublin and gave the first concert
performance with the Liverpool Phil
conducted by Sargent on 19 January 1946.
The marriage suffered from Moeran's
lack of commitment, her concert tours
and his alcoholism. Moeran died in 1950
and Coetmore in Australia in 1977. Artistically
their partnership bore three works and
in replete symmetry they are all gathered
on this disc.
Coetmore had been a
fine cellist in her time but she made
this recording long after she had ceased
active concert life. Her tentativeness
is evident. Her performance lacks tension
and electricity but not romantic relaxation.
Her intonation wanders off ‘true north’
although, through force of the music
and Boult and the LPO's accomplishment,
the whole thing coheres well enough.
The usual Sibelian fingerprints are
strongly in evidence. The start of the
second movement recalls the bleak fens
of the Symphony but there’s a caressing
romantic tenderness that the Symphony
never had – at least not like this.
The Concerto was always more poetic
than dramatic although it has some of
Moeran's trademark dynamism in the finale.
This Coetmore sturdily limns in but
with more of a lurch than a lilt. Boult
makes up for any deficiencies with an
April day's zest and an explosive blood-rush
for the final flourishes which obviously
provide a tough challenge for the soloist.
The Sonata was Moeran's
last completed work. Such a pity that
the Second Symphony was left in shreds
although I have not given up hope for
a reconstruction/realisation in line
with ‘Elgar 3’. The Sonata first movement
has a magical Celtic-curved romance
(I, 2:04). This is succeeded by a sombre
and rather morose Adagio and
a devilishly Baxian-angry final allegro.
Coetmore, perhaps less intimidated by
a solo piano partner - even one of the
eminence of Parkin, rises to the challenge
more successfully than she does for
Boult. Interesting that Moeran's friend
John Ireland (who also entered a disastrous
marriage) is echoed in the finale at
1:40. Coetmore premiered the Sonata
on 9 May 1947 with that Irish champion
of Bax, Charles Lynch. The little Prelude
was the first work Moeran wrote for
Coetmore. She took it with her on a
Middle East tour in 1944 where she premiered
it at Alexandria. It is a romantic piece
comparable with one of Fauré's
cello morceaux. In its gestural range
it includes a fragile crystalline rainbow
of notes and there’s at least one phrase
that echoes Vaughan Williams' contemporary
prelude to The 49th Parallel.
The LP that carried
the concerto bore the wonderfully atmospheric
photograph of the couple standing high
in hills leaning on one of those Ordnance
Survey triangulation pillars. That photo
was used for the Lyrita CD of the Violin
Concerto and Rhapsody No. 3. Here instead
we have the couple hand-in-hand walking
down from what I suspect is that very
These recordings are
very old friends and it is good to welcome
The liner-notes are
by Paul Conway who ensures that we take
in all the essentials of the Moeran-Coetmore
connection and the detail of the three
works. He is unflinching about Coetmore's
performance which is significant for
historic resonance but uncompetitive
when compared with Wallfisch on Chandos.
This makes a fitting
complement to the other Moeran discs
issued by Lyrita. It completes the reissue
of their Moeran legacy with a musically
poetic chapter even if it recalls what
was finally a downbeat in Moeran's life.
What endures is the music.
Moeran Symphony; Overture for a Masque
Moeran Violin Concerto
Baines / Moeran Piano Music