WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Elgar: Cello Concerto, Falstaff, Romance, Etc / Elder, Schiff, Et Al


Release Date: 11/11/2008 
Label:  Hallé   Catalog #: 7505   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Graham SalvageAndrew ShoreHeinrich Schiff
Conductor:  Mark Elder
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 10 Mins. 

In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  
On sale! $18.98
CD:  $15.99
In Stock



Notes and Editorial Reviews

With upwards of a dozen highly recommendable Falstaffs in the catalogue, and nearly twice that for the Cello Concerto, this latest instalment in the Hallé’s ‘Elgar Edition’ enters very crowded waters. Apart from some minor quibbles, it can be counted a success, though whether it will displace your favourites is another matter.

The great symphonic study, Falstaff, has been exceptionally lucky on disc. From the composer’s own memorable EMI reading, through those by Barbirolli, Handley, Mackerras and Rattle, the collector is spoilt for choice. Mark Elder brings his considerable theatrical experience to bear on what is Elgar’s most programmatic work, and the result is refreshingly direct, invigorating and characterful.
Read more Above all, Elder helps the listener to visualize the story behind the many incidents and his reading, whilst never sounding rushed (Mackerras is nearer Elgar’s suggested thirty minutes) constantly leads the ear on to the next section. Some find the work Elgar’s most Straussian composition, a sort of Don Quixote meets Ein Heldenleben, and Elder seems to agree, with moments of great swagger and rumbustiousness. The very opening is a case in point, with a wonderfully cohesive Hallé articulating the unison downward figure with great aplomb. Elder puts on some extra minutes by relaxing in certain passages (notably the moving ending, ‘Falstaff’s Death’) where Elgar himself (and Mackerras) really keeps things moving along. However, with such good playing and wide-ranging recording, he can be forgiven odd indulgences. Overall this is a very impressive account.

Likewise, the Cello Concerto is strongly characterized, with a ripely romantic reading of the solo part balanced out by a tightly structured general approach. This account is certainly more impressive than Schiff’s earlier, 1982 Philips recording with Neville Marriner and the Dresden Staatskapelle, where the blandness of both soloist and orchestra stopped the reading taking wing. The older Schiff seems to have found a ‘voice’ for this piece now, and his deeply-felt playing has spirit, tenderness and fire in equal measure. If you like a more classically balanced approach (like Tortelier’s 1954 account with Sargent) this may not be for you, although Schiff’s big-boned performance is, as mentioned earlier, nicely countered by Elder’s taut conducting.

The Romance for bassoon may be familiar to some in its arrangement for cello and orchestra, but it is nice to hear it in its original form particularly when the playing is as persuasive and free of mannerism as Graham Salvage’s. The Smoking Cantata is a musical joke, Elgar’s response to being chided for smoking at a friend’s house. It consists of 51 seconds of heavily orchestrated pseudo-Wagner which accompany the words ‘kindly, kindly do not smoke in the hall or stairs’. It is good fun, but hardly likely to sway you towards the disc, even with its ‘premiere recording’ status.

The recording is very full bodied, though I was bothered by the audible edit points between tracks (a small click) that ought not to be present. It’s particularly noticeable in the quieter passages of Falstaff, though I was using headphones at the time. The brief liner notes are by veteran expert Michael Kennedy, and as is the modern way, the user is directed towards the dedicated website for more information on the music and performances.

- Tony Haywood, MusicWeb International Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Falstaff, Op. 68 by Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  Mark Elder
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1913; England 
Length: 3 Minutes 11 Secs. 
Notes: Audio Producer: Andrew Keener. 
2. Romance for Bassoon and Orchestra, Op. 62 by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Graham Salvage (Bassoon)
Conductor:  Mark Elder
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1909; England 
Length: 6 Minutes 20 Secs. 
Notes: Audio Producer: Andrew Keener. 
3. Smoking Cantata by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Andrew Shore (Baritone)
Conductor:  Mark Elder
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1919; England 
Length: 0 Minutes 51 Secs. 
Notes: Audio Producer: Andrew Keener. 
4. Concerto for Cello in E minor, Op. 85: 1st movement, Adagio-Moderato by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Heinrich Schiff (Cello)
Conductor:  Mark Elder
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1919; England 
Length: 7 Minutes 33 Secs. 
Notes: Audio Producer: Andrew Keener. 
5. Concerto for Cello in E minor, Op. 85: 2nd movement, Lento-Allegro molto by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Heinrich Schiff (Cello)
Conductor:  Mark Elder
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1919; England 
Length: 4 Minutes 36 Secs. 
Notes: Audio Producer: Andrew Keener. 
6. Concerto for Cello in E minor, Op. 85: 3rd movement, Adagio by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Heinrich Schiff (Cello)
Conductor:  Mark Elder
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1919; England 
Length: 4 Minutes 29 Secs. 
Notes: Audio Producer: Andrew Keener. 
7. Concerto for Cello in E minor, Op. 85: 4th movement, Allegro-Moderato-Allegro by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Heinrich Schiff (Cello)
Conductor:  Mark Elder
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1919; England 
Length: 10 Minutes 11 Secs. 
Notes: Audio Producer: Andrew Keener. 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook