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Cello Concerto / Sea Pictures / Overture [Original recording remastered]

Edward Elgar, Jacqueline du Pré Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Audio CD (7 Sep 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: EMI Classics
  • ASIN: B0002VEQGG
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 519,044 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Concert Overture: Cockaigne (In London Town) Op.40 - Philharmonia Orchestra
2. I. Adagio - Moderato - Jacqueline Du Pre
3. II. Lento - Allegro Molto - Jacqueline Du Pre
4. III. Adagio - Jacqueline Du Pre
5. IV. Allegro - Moderato - Allegro, Ma Non Troppo - Jacqueline Du Pre
6. I. Sea Slumber-Song - Janet Baker
7. II. In Haven (Capri) - Janet Baker
8. III. Sabbath Morning At Sea - Janet Baker
9. IV.Where Corals Lie - Janet Baker
10. V. The Swimmer - Janet Baker

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This very famous pair of performances of the concerto and Sea Pictures, made in 1965, has long been a point of reference by those interested in the music. It has been in my collection in one form or another since then and has always delivered great musical satisfaction. The recording, however, has been problematical at times as follows: The highest peaks of recorded sound were over-modulated on the LP discs and, even with the highest quality Shure cartridges, clean tracking of the most powerful moments of Janet Baker's singing or trumpet climaxes could not be achieved.

The CDs which followed showed improvement in this respect but the same points were clearly uncomfortable in playback even with the best playback machines available at that time. The suspicion grew that the real problem was with the actual recording and not its reproduction. However, I have given it yet one more try and this time the mastering is a triumph. No peak overloading, just, and far greater presence, improved depth of field - in fact an astounding improvement in every respect.

As an extra bonus, the disc even includes an equally improved Cockaigne Overture recorded in 1962 with the Philharmonia and one brimming over with Barbirolli's Londoner enthusiasm - he was always proud to be a Cockney.

The performances of the two main works are so well known and revered as to make further comment by me to be merely superficial. Those who already know these performances will simply want to know if the latest mastering is worth investing in - and it is. Those who don't know the performances should consider rectifying the omission as soon as possible and with this latest remastering.
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5.0 out of 5 stars FINE EARLY JANET bAKER 18 May 2014
By D Ely
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Any one buying this remasrered disc will not be dissapointed. Janet Baker is in her prime and the recording quality is very acceptable
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5.0 out of 5 stars Golden oldie 27 Feb 2014
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Elgar cello concerto with Jacqueline Du Pre? Why go anywhere else? This is Elgar at his finest, especially under Barbirolli's baton.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Definitive Elgar Cello Concerto 3 May 2005
By Michael B. Richman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This performance is hands down the single best recording of the Elgar Cello Concerto. Other accounts are good -- Tortelier, Navarra, Yo-Yo Ma -- but only one stereo reading was good enough to replace the composer's own historical recording with Beatrice Harrison and that is this one by Jacqueline du Pre. Sir John Barbirolli and the London Symphony Orchestra accompany the cellist in this definitive 1965 performance, which for all intents and purposes, launched her career. Du Pre's playing has the quality and delivery of a great singer, so it is only fitting that the Concerto be coupled with another legendary performance -- Janet Baker's "Sea Pictures" again with JB and the Londoners. This CD has been available for years as a full-price title, but it is great to see it now at midline in the "GROTC" series. In fact, for more in depth reviews of these performances, including one from esteemed music critic David Hurwitz, you should consult this reissue's predecessor.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful performances and remastering 19 Feb 2007
By Yi-Peng - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This legendary Du Pre recording of the Elgar Cello Concerto is certainly one of the titles I've been waiting to see in the Great Recordings of the Century. Du Pre gives a passionate reading of the concerto, capturing all the pathos in this immensely tragic work, with able support from Barbirolli and the London Symphony Orchestra, drawing upon his expertise in this music. Barbirolli and the LSO also ably support Dame Janet Baker in her rendition of the Sea Pictures. Dame Janet sings with a light touch and a tonal beauty that befits the music, and one can hear everyone making the most of this underrated Elgar work and unearthing the many nuances in his depiction of the sea.

You'll wonder what the Cello Concerto and the Sea Pictures have in common besides boasting great performances in this disc. Well, from my reading of it, they both harbour sentiments of unpredictability in life. The Cello Concerto is laden with yearning for a lost world, a world torn apart by the First World War, and the Sea Pictures features some depictions of how the sea destroys love.

As expected, this reissue in the Great Recordings of the Century series offers the best remastering that these performances could ever deserve. They emerge as if they were clean, full and vibrant recordings that sound like they were only recorded yesterday. My only quibble is that the CD producers decided to throw in the Cockaigne Overture, which is a rather frivolous piece in relation to the deep, sober mood of the original record. I know that we must get bang for our dollars with the capacity of a CD, but the Cockaigne really spoils the mood of the other two pieces. Thankfully the listener can programme it out and get to the Concerto and the Sea Pictures.

But don't let this deter you from grabbing a copy of this legendary recording that surely deserves its coveted place in this superb EMI series.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DuPre at her best 19 Feb 2007
By Marcus Aurelius - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
The Elgar belongs to no other. Jackie may have been a bit high-strung, but there's more emotion in this recording that one can find in any other recording of anything in the universe.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why has this album been hyped? 17 Nov 2012
By Andrew R. Barnard - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
It's rare that all listeners unanimously agree that a recording is a gold standard. But it's as difficult to find someone who doesn't think Jacqueline du Pre has the best Elgar Cello Concerto on record as it is to find someone who thinks the earth is flat. Such unequivocal praise from all musical realms seems eerie. Classical music fans just don't agree like this.

But it's no wonder everyone is bowled over by this disc. With effortless authority, it solves all the challenges the work poses. For those with limited familiarity with the Cello Concerto, it is Elgar's masterpiece, imbued with nostalgia and a sense of regret. It's personal, even private, with moments of otherworldly reflection that asks for no distractions. Due to the work's melancholic nature, if an interpreter presents any reticence, the mood becomes gloomy and ponderous instead of rich and soul-searching. On the other hand, if the interpreter moves too quickly, we lose sight of the depth of meaning Elgar instilled, finding ourselves wandering without decisive meaning.

Du Pre succeeds because she finds the perfect balance. She gives her all, with ravishing soul, yet she's patient, holding on and never letting go too soon. Her passion is unrestrained, but it's bent to serve her comprehensive view of the work as a whole. And that vision is one encapsulating Elgar's heartfelt sadness while showcasing intensity that nearly pulls us along. We're never hurried, though. The determination that pours out of du Pre's cello keeps us looking ahead, and even when we're mourning, we can see a ray of hope in the distance. She is also blessed with committed accompaniment from Sir John Barbirolli and the LSO. Both conductor and soloist join together to create an environment full of electricity. Barbirolli finds his perfect place, adding his own input while letting du Pre take center stage. I can't think of any drawbacks to this recording whatsoever. It seems perfect, which is why it has such devoted fans.

We don't leave the legendary realm when we move to the Sea Pictures, where Barbirolli is joined by Janet Baker. This is a calm, almost pastoral reading, but one that throbs with intense emotion. Baker's singing is almost beyond praise, unfolding naturally but with a full thrust of personality that's mesmerizing. The atmosphere is undeniably religious, somber but full of awe. In all, this is an intimate reading that is sure to warm the heart.

Barbirolli is alert and in top form in the Cockaigne Overture. He finds variety, avoiding the temptation to turn the overture into a long Pomp and Circumstance. He believes in the piece, and his genuine conducting would be hard to beat.

If you're one of the few listeners who don't own this magnificent disc, join the crowd and buy it. The praise it has garnered is deserved, every bit of it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Legendary performances 11 Aug 2007
By Naomi Ridout - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Quite simply, this is my top desert island disc. Despite better recording techniques, recent performances cannot come close to the controlled emotions and virtuosity of Baker and De Pre. I cannot imagine an Elgar lover who would not want to own this, and play it all the time!
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