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Sir Edward Elgar (The Sketches, Drafts And Recordings Of His Piano Concerto)

Sir Edward Elgar (The Sketches, Drafts And Recordings Of His Piano Concerto)

30 Jun 2011

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Product details

  • Label: Dutton
  • Copyright: (c) 2005 Dutton
  • Total Length: 1:14:31
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B00651WVXC
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 135,595 in MP3 Albums (See Top 100 in MP3 Albums)

Customer Reviews

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mr. S. J. Bonsor VINE VOICE on 22 April 2006
Format: Audio CD
This is a difficult piece to get your head around: the concept is strange enough- an original 'Elgar' concerto derived from the abortive sketches, recorded improvisations and a more or less complete slow movement. Get beyond that idea and you're confronted with a work which has strong Elgarian content but none of the easy logic of either of the other 'true' Elgar concertos.

The precedent was set by Anthony Payne when he made his superb elaboration (completion) of the Third Symphony sketches: Such a fine job in fact that there is nothing to show the symphony as anything other than the real deal from the hands of the master. In this concerto Robert Walker has had the same role in bringing the piece to fruition and the work as we have it here is of normal concerto length. The CD booklet is at pains to indicate that, unlike the Third Symphony, almost all the Piano Concerto materials are Elgar's own.

This doesn't mean that the process was plain sailing. Walker, together with the soloist David Owen Norris have had several attempts at refining the score, including a disastrous outing at the Three Choirs Festival where the Piano Concerto was nearly 50 minutes long (the recording of that version of the piece has not been released.....):Hence more than the usual blood,sweat and tears!

Add into the mixture, just to complicate matters, Elgar's own ambivalence towards the piano. He was hardly a virtuoso on the keyboard (but he was'nt a virtuouso cellist either, yet still managed to produce the cellists' favourite concerto...)and his piano playing was described as indiosyncratic and 'orchestral', implying that he primarily used the instrument to try out various tone colours when composing.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By op on 25 Jan 2008
Format: Audio CD
Robert Walker called his project "Fragments of Elgar", his intent explicitely being to write a Romantic piano concerto in the Elgar style using the ideas and sketches that Elgar left for his own projected piano concerto. This was an entirely worthwhile and honest project that would allow us to hear Elgar's ideas persuasively exposed in performance. I feel that labelling this recording "Elgar Piano Concerto" rather than "Fragments of Elgar" is less meritorious.

This being said, the result is impressive. The exposition of the initial glorious tune is surely a must-have for any elgarian, and the return of this towards the end of the last movement (very much in the manner of the first symphony) is magical. Impressive too is Walker's interpretation of the middle movement (the only movement for which Elgar left a coherent short score) as an intermezzo rather than a slow movement.

But this lightweight movement leads me to wonder whether Elgar would not in fact have written a slighter work. He once said that his piano concerto would be "windflowerish". I personally suspect that he would have written something closer to the scale of his cello concerto, and more in keeping with the times in which he would have written it. This view does not in any way compromise Robert Walker's magnificent work, but for me it makes the publisher's title "Elgar Piano Concerto" even less acceptable.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Paul Dalheim on 10 May 2006
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Whilst it does not have the impact of the Elgar/Payne 3rd Symphony, this is still worth listening to. After the first hearing it remains relatively bland, but after repeated listening it does feel more Elgarian.

It is clear that much thought has been put into the work both by Walker and Owen Norris: the information in the booklet about the genesis/reconstruction is of great interest for lovers of Elgar. However the result is pleasant rather than striking (as in the case of the 3rd symphony).

Whilst I shall continue to listen regularly to the work, I do not find that it has the same impact as the "real" Elgar - but then its composer does not claim this.

Certainly it is good that the sketches, notes etc have been made availabe for public hearing. It is a disc that lovers of Elgar will wish to own, even it may not be the one that they play the most.

The other pieces on the disc are pleasant, particularly the orchestral miniatures, which could easily be taken for Elgar's own work.
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