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Holst: The Planets - Elgar: Enigma Variations / Litton, Bergen Philharmonic


Release Date: 07/05/2019 
Label:  Bis   Catalog #: BIS-2068  
Composer:  Sir Edward ElgarGustav Holst
Conductor:  Andrew Litton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  
SuperAudio CD:  $19.99
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

It is striking that two of the true classics in English orchestral music were composed within the short space of some fifteen years around the turn of the previous century. Edward Elgar's Enigma Variations have charmed as well as fascinated listeners since the first performance in 1899. In 14 remarkably diverse variations Elgar demonstrates his compositional mastery while creating miniature portraits of his closest friends, as well as of his wife and himself. By turns gentle, idyllic, tempestuous and boisterous, the pieces – which often run seamlessly into each other – nevertheless make up a coherent whole, like a group portrait taken during a country weekend. As for the enigma of the title, Elgar – who loved puzzles – maintained that Read more another melody ‘went with’ the theme, and musicologists have searched for the answer ever since, without success. In 1916 Gustav Holst completed another set of musical character sketches – his suite The Planets, in seven movements. These have little to do with astronomy and even less with the Roman deities whose names they carry. Holst was rather inspired by astrology and the suite actually concerns human character as influenced by the planets. The concept – like that of Elgar's variations – provides for a variety of moods and expressions, and in his score Holst took full advantage of these possibilities. To achieve this he made use of a large orchestra including much percussion, two harps, celesta, organ, two sets of timpani. He also included parts for certain unusual instruments such as bass flute, bass oboe and tenor tuba, and – in the final movement – a female chorus. Performing the programme in the warm acoustics of Bergen's Grieg Hall, the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra under Andrew Litton give it their all in this sonic spectacular. Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 36 "Enigma" by Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  Andrew Litton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1898-1899; England 
2.
The Planets, Op. 32/H 125 by Gustav Holst
Conductor:  Andrew Litton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1914-1916; England 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Authentic Holst & Elgar from Bergen August 6, 2019 By Dean Frey See All My Reviews "The presentation of Edward Elgar's Enigma Variations in 1899 single-handedly destroyed a stereotype about Un-Musical Britain. It was a new masterwork of orchestral music for the 20th Century, and it was followed in 1916 by another: Gustav Holst's The Planets. Both are now staples of the orchestral repertoire around the world, though perhaps not as totally beloved as in Britain, with its flag-waving Proms audiences. It's instructive, then, to see how many great recorded performances come from outside of the UK: Montreal, Chicago, Berlin, Vienna, to name a few. Andrew Litton, who has made memorable recordings of the Holst from Dallas, and the Elgar from London, provides a musically flawless and authentic performance of both from Norway, with the very fine Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra. So often used as demonstrations of high-end audio, these two works both sound very good, partly because of the BIS engineers, but let's face it, both composers wrote this music to sound good! I should mention that I listened to the stereo version, but I'm sure the surround-sound one is awesome." Report Abuse
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