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Elgar: Violin Concerto / Chung, Solti

Release Date: 08/14/2008 
Label:  London/Decca British Collection Catalog #: 421388   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Kyung-Wha ChungPhillip Moll
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 57 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Kyung-Wha Chung recorded the Elgar concerto with Solti as part of his fascinating 1970s series of Elgar recordings, which included red-blooded and revelatory accounts of the two symphonies. Thirty years later, Solti's Elgar recordings remain consistently engaging and are a vital corrective to more “traditional” interpretations. His enthusiasm for Elgar is very much on display in this recording of the violin concerto. He whips up some excited playing from the orchestra in the tuttis, getting a great big blustery sound out of the LPO. Chung is also in fine form. Her tone is sweet and innocent, but she has plenty of power and heft where required.

The first movement begins with great energy, but Solti is not insensitive, and he
Read more shapes the orchestra's phrasing with care as Chung's first entry approaches. Her first notes are dark in colour, almost melancholic. Her phrasing stirs the orchestra to reply and comment on her statements and there is a real feeling of dialogue here. Though tempi are not swift, the sense of line is inexorable and at no point is there any loss of continuity or momentum. Solti rallies the orchestra in the tuttis and even an obvious cracked trumpet note 10:15 and a few stumbles from the brass in the following bars cannot dampen the energy and excitement of this performance.

The second movement is simply beautiful under Solti's baton and Chung's bow. Chung's range of tone colour is on full display here, at one moment firmly emphatic, the next whimsically nostalgic. It is impossible not to be swept along. Solti also gets wonderful gossamer textures from the LPO strings about 8 minutes into this movement. The finale is played with plenty of thrust and triumph. There is majesty here, and when Chung arrives at the cadenza, she plays it beautifully.

This is a performance of contrast – heart on sleeve intensity and inwardness. There is more extrovert passion here than you find with Hilary Hahn or Nigel Kennedy in his preferable first version with Handley. There is also much less wilfulness than in Kennedy's mercurial second recording with Rattle. In passionate expression, this account approaches Perlman's vastly underrated recording on Deutsche Grammophon, but still manages to sound British in a way that Perlman's account does not. The warm Decca analogue recording gives the performance a lovely bloom.

The two fillers are drawn from a recital disc dating from the late 1980s and are lightly and prettily played.

Tim Perry, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

Concerto for Violin in B minor, Op. 61 by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Kyung-Wha Chung (Violin)
Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1909-1910; England 
Date of Recording: 1977 
Salut d'amour, Op. 12 by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Phillip Moll (Piano), Kyung-Wha Chung (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888/1889; England 
Date of Recording: 1977 
La capricieuse, Op. 17 by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Phillip Moll (Piano), Kyung-Wha Chung (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1891; England 

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