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Elgar: Enigma Variations, Introduction & Allegro, Serenade / Davis


Release Date: 07/26/2007 
Label:  Apex   Catalog #: 741371   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  Sir Andrew Davis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews


Andrew Davis' Elgar recordings for Teldec (especially the symphonies) are widely rated as exceptional, and this compilation, first released in Teldec's British Line series in 1991, has few serious rivals. The most immediately appreciable benefit here is the excellence of the sound in Christopher Palmer's productions from London's St. Augustine's Church. There's enough natural resonance to convey the martial swagger of brass in full cry in Cockaigne, but at the opposite end of the dynamic scale there's ample warmth and immediacy too, giving the String Serenade an intimate, chamber-like atmosphere in this touchingly understated performance.


Davis superbly characterizes Enigma's
Read more "friends pictured within". The recording imparts a misty, dream-like feel to the cryptic opening theme, and the individual cameos that follow afford compelling insights into their subjects. The blustering country squire "WMB" slams the drawing room door imperiously on his way out (Var. 4), and the amateur violist "Ysobel" struggles patiently with a simple string-crossing exercise in her variation (6). Basil Nevinson's eloquent seriousness is skillfully portrayed by the cello soloist in Var. 12, and the pin-sharp recording effectively conveys the timpanist's coin-drumming (evoking a distantly heard ship engine) in the penultimate variation. Finally, the composer himself emerges, and Davis presents him as a man of energy and purpose. It's good to hear Elgar's optional organ part (most recordings overlook it) both here and in the final section of Cockaigne. The BBC strings give a disciplined, confident performance of the Introduction and Allegro, with a biting, racy fugue and excellent (but uncredited) solo quartet.
--Michael Jameson, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Cockaigne Overture, Op. 40 "In London Town" by Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  Sir Andrew Davis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1900-1901; England 
2. Introduction and Allegro for String Quartet and String Orchestra, Op. 47 by Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  Sir Andrew Davis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1904-1905; England 
3. Serenade for Strings in E minor, Op. 20 by Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  Sir Andrew Davis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; England 
4. Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 36 "Enigma" by Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  Sir Andrew Davis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1898-1899; England 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Great Performance of Core Elgar Works October 20, 2012 By Henry S. (Springfield, VA) See All My Reviews "The immediate impression one gets from this recording is the glorious sound of the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Sir Andrew Davis. The pieces on this disk are not unknown; there are many excellent recordings of the Enigma Variations and the Cockiaigne Overture, for example. This recording ranks right up there with the best, with an authentic and powerful British approach taken by Davis. If you already own Elgar, there probably is no compelling reason to rush out after this disk. On the other hand, a new collector should seriously consider this recording. It's excellent! Recommended." Report Abuse
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