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Elgar: Orchestral Minatures / Judd, New Zealand So


Release Date: 08/29/2006 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8557577   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Preman Tilson
Conductor:  James Judd
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 4 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The bonbons on this collection of “Orchestral Miniatures” have little to engage your intellect or emotions; but when played well, they can have the same kind of insinuating (although far from infectious) charm found in Victorian advertising circulars. They’re certainly played well by Judd and the New Zealanders, who—with their tasteful tempo-pulling and their sweet but never clingy string slides—convey the innocent spirit and velveteen textures with a remarkable period flavor. There’s snap and bluffness where required—say, in the first of the Characteristic Pieces or the beery conclusion to the Bavarian Dances. But for the most part, a light touch, even an intimacy, colors the music-making here. The Romance for Bassoon moves a bit further Read more away from the palm court, but it looks back to the two Chansons more than it looks sideways to its contemporary, the Second Symphony—and its nostalgia, too, is eloquently captured.

Froissart, Elgar’s first truly Elgarian orchestral work, is the joker in this pack: at nearly a quarter of an hour it’s hardly a miniature; more important, it breaks free from the salon sensibility of the other repertoire on the disc. Judd’s acumen here is, if anything, even sharper. In lesser hands, Froissart can sound like a lumpy and ill-integrated piece, one in which the forward-looking ideas haven’t quite been digested; but Judd manages to make it work—not by seeking to unify its ideas, but rather by heightening its contradictions. The opening 45 seconds or so set out the general approach. The hard, bright, sharply profiled opening leads you to expect a tough modernist reading; but in a bold stroke of interpretive alchemy, the ground shifts and the musical landscape is transformed by an infusion of rubato and portamento that seems the product of a different aesthetic world entirely. And so it goes, as Judd plays up contrasts of color, dynamics, and tempo in ways that always keep us on the edge. Those looking for a smooth ride may be disconcerted—but few performances I know so clearly elucidate the music’s bifurcated character.

It’s not clear why the Minuet has been interpolated into the middle of the Characteristic Pieces, but otherwise the production is fine. All in all, a more interesting CD than might at first appear. Warmly recommended.

FANFARE: Peter J. Rabinowitz
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Works on This Recording

1. Froissart Overture, Op. 19 by Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  James Judd
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1890; England 
Venue:  Michael Fowler Center, Wellington, New Z 
Length: 14 Minutes 2 Secs. 
Notes: Michael Fowler Center, Wellington, New Zealand (04/06/2004 - 04/08/2004) 
2. May Song by Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  James Judd
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1901/1928; England 
Venue:  Michael Fowler Center, Wellington, New Z 
Length: 4 Minutes 4 Secs. 
Notes: Version: 1901
Michael Fowler Center, Wellington, New Zealand (04/06/2004 - 04/08/2004) 
3. Carissima by Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  James Judd
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1914; England 
Venue:  Michael Fowler Center, Wellington, New Z 
Length: 3 Minutes 44 Secs. 
Notes: Michael Fowler Center, Wellington, New Zealand (04/06/2004 - 04/08/2004) 
4. Romance for Bassoon and Orchestra, Op. 62 by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Preman Tilson (Bassoon)
Conductor:  James Judd
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1909; England 
Venue:  Michael Fowler Center, Wellington, New Z 
Length: 5 Minutes 18 Secs. 
Notes: Michael Fowler Center, Wellington, New Zealand (04/06/2004 - 04/08/2004) 
5. Characteristic Pieces (3), Op. 10: no 1, Mazurka by Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  James Judd
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1899; England 
Venue:  Michael Fowler Center, Wellington, New Z 
Length: 3 Minutes 14 Secs. 
Notes: Michael Fowler Center, Wellington, New Zealand (04/06/2004 - 04/08/2004) 
6. Minuet, Op. 21 by Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  James Judd
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1897; England 
Venue:  Michael Fowler Center, Wellington, New Z 
Length: 4 Minutes 26 Secs. 
Notes: Michael Fowler Center, Wellington, New Zealand (04/06/2004 - 04/08/2004) 
7. Characteristic Pieces (3), Op. 10: no 2, Sérénade mauresque by Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  James Judd
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1899; England 
Venue:  Michael Fowler Center, Wellington, New Z 
Length: 5 Minutes 30 Secs. 
Notes: Michael Fowler Center, Wellington, New Zealand (04/06/2004 - 04/08/2004) 
8. Characteristic Pieces (3), Op. 10: no 3, Contrasts by Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  James Judd
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1899; England 
Venue:  Michael Fowler Center, Wellington, New Z 
Length: 3 Minutes 17 Secs. 
Notes: Michael Fowler Center, Wellington, New Zealand (04/06/2004 - 04/08/2004) 
9. Chanson de matin, Op. 15 no 2 by Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  James Judd
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1897; England 
Venue:  Michael Fowler Center, Wellington, New Z 
Length: 3 Minutes 37 Secs. 
Notes: Michael Fowler Center, Wellington, New Zealand (04/06/2004 - 04/08/2004) 
10. Chanson de nuit, Op. 15 no 1 by Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  James Judd
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1897; England 
Venue:  Michael Fowler Center, Wellington, New Z 
Length: 4 Minutes 26 Secs. 
Notes: Michael Fowler Center, Wellington, New Zealand (04/06/2004 - 04/08/2004) 
11. Bavarian Dances (3) by Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  James Judd
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1895; England 
Venue:  Michael Fowler Center, Wellington, New Z 
Length: 12 Minutes 16 Secs. 
Notes: Michael Fowler Center, Wellington, New Zealand (04/06/2004 - 04/08/2004) 
12. Characteristic Pieces (3), Op. 10 by Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  James Judd
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1899; England 

Sound Samples

Froissart Overture, Op. 19
May Song
Carissima
Romance, Op. 62
3 Characteristic Pieces, Op. 10: No. 1. Mazurka
Minuet, Op. 21
3 Characteristic Pieces, Op. 10: No. 2. Serenade mauresque,
3 Characteristic Pieces, Op. 10: No. 3. Contrasts: The Gavotte
Chanson de matin, Op. 15, No. 2
Chanson de nuit, Op. 15, No. 1
3 Bavarian Dances: No. 1
3 Bavarian Dances: No. 2
3 Bavarian Dances: No. 3

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