Why does Elgar’s Cello Concerto make us cry? A top cellist explains

We asked Steven Isserlis, one of today's very best cellists, to give us a personal guide to one of the most beautiful pieces ever written.

Steven Isserlis Elgar asset

Steven Isserlis is one of the best cellists around. Not only has he just recorded Elgar's Cello Concerto (available to buy now), he'll also be performing the work at Classic FM Live at the Royal Albert Hall on 5th April.

So he's perfectly placed to answer our burning question about one of Elgar's most famous works: why does it always make us well up?

Let’s talk about the opening of Elgar's Cello Concerto…

Starting at the top, Elgar gives us an arresting, dramatic opening.

Steven Isserlis' guide to Elgar's Cello Concerto, part 1

Why does Elgar's Cello Concerto make us cry? We asked one of today's top cellists.

Posted by Classic FM on Monday, 29 February 2016

 

 

But there’s more to Elgar’s Cello Concerto than the famous opening melody

There’s loneliness and self-doubt, as Isserlis goes on to explain.

 
Steven Isserlis' guide to Elgar's Cello Concerto, part 2

Why does Elgar's Cello Concerto make us cry? We put the question to the brilliant cellist Steven Isserlis

Posted by Classic FM on Monday, 29 February 2016

 

 

Then there’s the regret

And that really tugs at your heart-strings

 
Steven isserlis' guide to Elgar's Cello Concerto, part 3

Why does Elgar's Cello Concerto make us cry? We asked one of today's top cellists…

Posted by Classic FM on Monday, 29 February 2016

 

 

And then there’s the coda

And this is the section that Isserlis believes is the “ultimate glory of the work”

 
Steven Isserlis' guide to Elgar's Cello Concerto, part 4

Why does Elgar's Cello Concerto make you cry? We asked the brilliant Steven Isserlis – here's what he had to say about the work's final moments

Posted by Classic FM on Monday, 29 February 2016

 

 

Is Elgar's Cello Concerto one of your favourite works? Why not vote for it in this year's Classic FM Hall of Fame? Once you've cast your vote you'll be entered into our prize draw to win £1,000.

Elgar