Notes and Editorial Reviews
"It is bits and pieces...I think you had better burn it," said Edward Elgar, facing death and in despair of his unfinished Third Symphony. Of course, some of the most successful works in Western music have been reconstructed after their composers' deaths. Mozart's 'Requiem,' Puccini's 'Turandot,' and Berg's 'Lulu' are notable examples of successful reconstructive surgery. With the approval of the Elgar estate, composer Anthony Payne has shaped Elgar's sketches for his last symphony into the work heard on this recording.
Payne's reconstruction, here given a top-notch performance by Andrew Davis and BBC Symphony Orchestra, is a triumph. Elgar's presence is almost palpable throughout the work, and this is nothing short of miraculous.
The opening movement is muscular and song-like, most typical of what is best in Elgar's music. The second movement is a lighthearted Scherzo reminiscent of the composer's incidental music. The heart of the work is the wrenching Adagio; dark and extremely emotional, it is unforgettable. The rousing and dramatic final movement is purely Payne's invention, and contains a noble tune that is characteristic of Elgar. This recording is a fascinating testament to the genius of Elgar, and essential listening for lovers of grand symphonic music.
Fanfare (5-6/98, p.121) - "...It should be said, immediately, that Payne's work is excellent. He has captured the essence and spirit of Elgar extremely well: you recognize all the Elgarian harmonies, density of textures, dynamics, rhythmic patterns, turns of phrase, and orchestrations..."
BBC Music (3/98, p.71) - Performance: 4 (out of 5), Sound: 4 (out of 5) - "...Payne has caught the composer's instantly recognisable orchestral palette to perfection and Davis demonstrates his own faith in the work in the sense of pace and control he brings to his performance..." Read less
Works on This Recording
Symphony no 3 in C minor by Sir Edward Elgar
Sir Andrew Davis
BBC Symphony Orchestra
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