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Elgar: Piano Quintet & Sea Pictures (Orch. Fraser) / Woods

Release Date: 05/06/2016 
Label:  Avie   Catalog #: 2362   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  Kenneth Woods
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Symphony OrchestraEnglish Chamber OrchestraRodolfus Choir
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

It's an initially disorientating experience to hear Sea Pictures in a version with choir. The Rodolfus Choir are an elite SATB group and have a wonderfully smooth and often lulling sound; there's a lot of that mood in Sea Pictures. The choir's diction is a marvel although the sung words are in any event at the back of the booklet. The singers are attentive to dynamic contrast and register some superbly poetic effects. Open-minded Elgarians who can get over the heresy of unfamiliar forces will find much to enjoy here. Where Corals Lie is a delight and works exceptionally well with choir.

A lazy unobservant glance at the details of this disc had me assuming that the Piano Quintet had been re-engineered into a Piano Concerto to
Read more join the Elgar/Walker. No such thing. What we have here is something of symphonic proportions and character. While there are some dark and dramatic moments and even some hints of the Second Symphony this now comes across as reflective and in the same territory as Falstaff. The first movement has an air of halting even fearful uncertainty. It's all very smooth though, suave even. A Viennese lilt at 10.00 is one of several instances where things become quite Brahmsian. The second movement is almost Finzian as details entwine much as they do in the woodland Interludes in Falstaff. The finale has its exciting moments but is overall quite nostalgic, philosophical, and regretful.

These two works in new colors should give many more opportunities to hear this music although ironically each requires a greater number of performers than the originals. Of the two Sea Pictures strikes me as the more attractive.

– MusicWeb International (Rob Barnett) Read less

Works on This Recording

Quintet for Piano and Strings in A minor, Op. 84 by Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  Kenneth Woods
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1918-1919; England 
Sea Pictures, Op. 37 by Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  Kenneth Woods
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  Rodolfus Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1897-1899; England 

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