. . . [Roe's playing of Britten's powerful 1938 concerto is] urgent and occasionally darkly sinister, a perfect reflection of the nervous year in which it was written. And Roe is more than a match for the demands of Samuel Barber's exuberantly difficult 1962 concerto.
. . . [Britten / Piano Concerto]: [Roe is] as swift as any modern rival in the Toccata's opening flourish, which is brilliantly done, matched by incisive double-tonguing from Emil Tabakov's LSO winds. Decca's close balance adds to the excitement . . . [Roe's first movement's cadenza is played] with rare flexibility and freedom it makes Britten sound like Debussy or Ravel, and the orchestra's quiet re-entry is daringly slow. I love it; this is one of the most sheerly beautiful orchestral passages in this composer's output, and slowing it down only makes it sound better . . . Exciting stuff -- this is a phenomenal piece, still under-appreciated. Samuel Barber's Piano Concerto makes for an appropriate coupling. Barber's romanticism is more overt than Britten's, and Tabakov's fulsome orchestral support is just what this work needs. The lusher tutti flourishes have plenty of colour, and Barber's thicker scoring doesn't suffer from congestion. There's a melting Canzone, and the finale's relentless 5/8 is handled with aplomb.
. . . a fine orchestral debut . . . Her style seems well suited to Britten and Barber, and she is able to display both her bravura finger work as well as her delicate, sensitive side . . . [in the Britten Piano Concerto op. 13 Roe] captures the varying moods of the music . . . [Barber / Piano Concerto]: Roe handles it with much grace and beauty, with an ethereal touch in the slow movement that brings out all of its light, wispy, gossamer qualities . . . [the album keeps getting better and better as it goes along, with Barber's] final two nocturnes quite lovely, thanks, as I say, to Ms. Roe's essential lyricism. She brings out all the Chopin and Debussy-like qualities of the music while making them highly individual, too . . . [this album has] an extremely natural and dynamic sound . . . The whole affair sounds like a good soloist and orchestra playing in a real concert hall.
. . . Roe sets off into the Britten at quite a lick, getting the notes to sparkle. Her playing favours a consistently light touch and precision, while Emil Tabakov's conducting is founded on strong colours, abetted by some characterful playing from the LSO wind and brass . . . the performance has enough personality to hold one's attention. The Barber Piano Concerto shares the same strengths . . . Roe's pinpoint playing allows the elegiac slow movement to speak with a cool-headed intimacy . . . [Barber's "Nocturne" and Britten's "Notturno"] make well-chosen encores . . .
Elizabeth Joy Roe opens the disc with a blistering tempo for the first movement of Benjamin Britten's Piano Concerto . . . She can certainly play, and what's more she is given an integrated balance, first among equals with the LSO in a spacious and reverberant acoustic . . . It's all very vivid, as is the performance . . . Roe gives a likeably capricious account of the cadenza . . . The beginning of the "Impromptu" is particularly poised and sensitive and its later fantastical outpourings are well brought out. The final "March" is given with determination and also fully registers the shadows . . . [there is much to admire] in the way that Roe approaches the Barber -- full of power and crusade and with no shortage of subtlety, the LSO and Emil Tabakov inside the music's dark passions, and there are some graceful wind solos in the quite-lovely if melancholic slow movement . . . The finale is driven and rhythmically angular with some intriguing strangeness along the way. Well done to Elizabeth Joy Roe for championing the piece; she should win it many friends . . . [Britten's "Nocturne"] is rather breathtaking and, surprisingly, reminds of Chopin. It invites many listens.
Well worth hearing . . . The Cadogan Hall recordings are reminiscent of Decca's best analogue work with piano/orchestra.
. . . [a] fine new recording . . . [Roe] is easily able to deal with the technical challenges of Britten's concerto and finds just the right tempo and tonal quality for every episode in the work . . . Tabakov has the LSO on its toes from beginning to end, and the recording quality is superb . . . Roe is in her element, playing very sensitively and beautifully.
Roe brings an incisive and well-articulated touch to the ebullient first movement of the Britten . . . Her treatment of the Impromptu is lyrical and tender . . . Barber's complex and declamatory opening "Allegro appassionato" is satisfactorily dealt with, the "Canzone" has watercolour charm, and the ostinato underlying the finale has a driving energy; Emil Tabakov and the LSO provide an efficient foil.