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  • Elgar: Violin Concerto / Vaughan Williams: The Lark Ascending
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Elgar: Violin Concerto / Vaughan Williams: The Lark Ascending CD


Price: £14.65 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
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Elgar: Violin Concerto / Vaughan Williams: The Lark Ascending + Vivaldi: Four Seasons + Mendelssohn, Bruch: Violin Concertos
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Product details

  • Performer: Nigel Kennedy
  • Orchestra: City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Sir Simon Rattle
  • Composer: Sir Edward Elgar, Ralph Vaughan Williams
  • Audio CD (3 Nov. 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: EMI Classics
  • ASIN: B000002RYN
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 17,657 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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View the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
Listen  1. Violin Concerto in B Minor, Op.61: I. AllegroNigel Kennedy/Sir Simon Rattle/City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra18:11Album Only
Listen  2. Violin Concerto in B Minor, Op.61: II. AndanteNigel Kennedy/City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra/Sir Simon Rattle14:29Album Only
Listen  3. Violin Concerto in B Minor, Op.61: III. Allegro molto - Cadenza (accompagnata: Lento) - Allegro molto (Tempo I)Nigel Kennedy/City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra/Sir Simon Rattle21:30Album Only
Listen  4. The Lark Ascending: Romance for violin and orchestraNigel Kennedy/Sir Simon Rattle17:39Album Only

Product Description

Amazon.co.uk

In July 1997, after a five-year self-imposed exile from the world of classical music, Nigel Kennedy returned to the scene of one of his earlier triumphs with this incident-packed account of the Elgar concerto. It's a reading which, in the first two movements at least, displays a bristling temperament, rapt ardour and go-for-broke spontaneity rare in a studio recording. In the opening Allegro, Kennedy's superbly commanding first entry as well as his ravishing handling of the "Windflower" second subject movingly recall Albert Sammons's miraculous 1929 recording with Sir Henry Wood (and there can be no higher praise than that!). Oddly, the finale is not quite on the same level, being somewhat too brusque and calculated for comfort (Kennedy's playing in the exquisite cadenza was more moving in his earlier recording with Vernon Handley). Overall, though, it's a thrilling display, brimming with charisma and imaginative insight. Kennedy and Rattle's incredibly leisurely, self-consciously luxuriant way with The Lark Ascending (one of Vaughan Williams's most sublimely evocative nature-poems) will probably not be everyone's cup of tea, but their performance of the Elgar just has to be experienced. --Andrew Achenbach

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By I. Giles HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 19 May 2013
Format: Audio CD
This disc, well recorded by EMI in 1997, comes into direct competition with Kennedy's earlier recording made in 1984. On that occasion he was paired with the experienced Elgarian conductor, Vernon Handley, and on this newer disc he is teamed with Simon Rattle. Collectors will want to know what the main differences are apart from the obvious comment that the new disc offers a fine performance of The Lark Ascending.

The two recordings are very similar in overall timings with the first movement being 47 seconds faster in the newer recording, the second movement being 68 seconds slower and the last movement being 14 seconds faster. The biggest difference in timings therefore is in the second movement with a markedly slower overall time. This difference is sufficient to affect the overall balance.

The outer movements are both faster overall, but more importantly, there is a marked increase in dramatic drive in the outer movements - especially the first. Taken with the much slower central movement it would be reasonable to say that Kennedy's later performance is one of greater extremes, between the more inwardly reflective elements of the concerto and the more extrovert and driven elements. These features are also there in the earlier version but are less marked. Some would therefore prefer the first version as having a more balanced overall perspective. Both versions are very satisfying but one might as well be listening to two performances by two different players.

On that thought there are others that I would also draw attention to. Those would include the recordings by Menuhin/Boult, impossible to ignore, then more recent recordings by Zehetmair, Ehnes, Shaham and Little all of whom provide recordings and interpretations as fine as that by Kennedy.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Bernard Davis on 17 Jan. 2008
Format: Audio CD
There is no doubt that this is a great CD. The performance of Ralph Vaughan Williams' `The Lark Ascending' is outstanding . The case is made for Elgar's Violin Concerto being the greatest of his major orchestral works; however the performance has a weakness as well as its strengths, as I will explain.

The pairing of Simon Rattle and Nigel Kennedy is inspired. The great conductor anchors Kennedy's playing in a rock solid foundation of perfectly judged orchestral playing. He brings his wealth of experience in giving life to the rich sound worlds of early 20th century composers to the project. The same feeling he has shown for composers such as the better known Mahler, and the more exotic Szymanowski is shown here. Rattle's great gift is be able to conjure great richness of texture from an orchestra, while at the same time bringing clarity to the music. This brings great dividends in these recordings. I have never heard Elgar sound so luxuriant before, or so precise. The effect is most telling as the slow second movement gives way to the third. The last few minutes of the slow movement are succulently beautiful, the musical language appears to move beyond the Elgar we have known and acquires a richness akin to Delius or indeed Vaughan Williams. In contrast the opening bars of the finale are fired with an intensity that equals early Stravinsky. Kennedy gives his all, and the listener is treated to jaw dropping turn of phrase after turn of phrase. What then is missing?

This is a great bringing to life of the notes on the page of music, but it is wafer thin as an interpretation of the work itself. Yes, rip any page of this score from the Violin Concerto and it can be argued that no one could have done a finer job than has been done here.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I've listened to a lot of recordings of this and, other than the two famous vintage recordings, this is in my opinion the best. Also, miles better than Kennedy's earlier recording with Vernon Handley. Dramatic, virtuosic and nicely structured. It's worth it for the last few minutes of the first movement alone.
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21 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Mr. D. W. Holbrook on 5 Jan. 2001
Format: Audio CD
One of the most outstanding recordings I have heard. What a lot of people in an Orchestra; (they are all credited in the sleeve notes), and they all work together to produce a fantastic sound.
Thirty three violins, however one violin stands out; Kennedy is superb, fluid emotion comes from his strings. Throughout the three movements of the violin concerto the audio experience just gets better; the playing drawing you in. An auditory extravaganza which will leave you wanting to play it again, and again. The lark ascending is also superb and stands well on its own or as a follow on piece.
This CD is the best value for money recording you could purchase, because every second of 71:52 available is, well, basically, music to your ears...
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Especially purchased for Nigel Kennedy's Lark Ascending by Vaughan Williams. It met all expectations, was truly a beautiful, emotional and sensitive piece ..... and the elgar violin concerto was very good too.
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By wilson on 19 Mar. 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is a lovely recording and I am delighted with it. There was a slight problem but the seller dealt with it satisfactorily and I can recommend both the CD and the seller.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Scriabinmahler TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 21 Nov. 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I've listened to many recordings of the concerto including Kennedy's earlier recording, but I think this later one with Rattle, Kyoko Takezawa's RCA version (Elgar - Orchestral Works) and Kung Wha Chung/Solti's account (Elgar: Violin Concerto in B minor, Salut d'amour, La Capricieuse.) come on top of my list.

Kennedy/Rattle performance is more expanssive (slowest among these three recordings) and there are many breath taking moments of serenity in the most sublime rendition of the slow movement, and also some movingly beautiful moments in the first and the last movement. Kennedy's playing is intensely beautiful and more masculine than his earlier performance. His tone is very focussed and rich. Rattle captures the mood swing and the longing in Elgar's music perfectly and draws deeply felt playing from the orchestra.

This is definitely a must-buy CD, alongside Chung and Takezawa's equally outstanding recordings!
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