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Elgar: Enigma Variations [CD]

Wiener Philharmoniker, Edward Elgar, John Eliot Gardiner Audio CD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
Price: £11.29 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Elgar: Enigma Variations + Vaughan Williams: Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis; On Wenlock Edge; Norfolk Rhapsody No.1; The Lark Ascending; In the Fen Country [British Composers] + Elgar - Orchestral Works - Enigma Variations - Pomp & Circumstance Marches Nos. 1-5
Price For All Three: £25.29

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Product details

  • Orchestra: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Kchl Quartet
  • Conductor: Sir John Eliot Gardiner
  • Composer: Sir Edward Elgar
  • Audio CD (11 Mar 2002)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Decca (UMO)
  • ASIN: B00005UW3R
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 91,245 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. In The South (Alassio) op.50
2. Introduction & Allegro op.47
3. Sospiri op.70
4. Variations on an Original Theme op.36

Product Description

Amazon.co.uk

The Vienna Philharmonic under John Eliot Gardiner brings a sense of freshness of discovery to Elgar's noble music. This is partially because this is hardly regular repertoire for the orchestra, and also as Gardiner approaches the scores with a clear individuality of interpretation. Bringing these four works together makes for a satisfying 70 minutes of listening. In the South brings with it moments of almost unbearable delicacy and tenderness which nevertheless do not sound sentimental. A refreshing ardour and dark dramaticism also mark out this reading. Gardiner captures the individual sound worlds of the Introduction and Allegro and Sospiri to perfection. The tender nostalgia of the former and the warmth of the latter lead to an account of the Enigma Variations distinguished by real attention to detail (emphasised by DG's clear and well-balanced recording). Gardiner refuses to milk the music for all it is worth as some interpreters do, preferring to let it speak smoothly and naturally: because of that the performance emerges as all the more emotionally charged. The Vienna players seem to revel in Elgar's frequently beautiful scoring. This Enigma Variations is worthy to sit alongside the finest in the catalogue. Indeed, this disc is a triumph. --Colin Clarke

Product Description

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
By Mr. Ian A. Macfarlane TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
It's lovely to hear the VPO in this repertoire, particularly as in recent years Elgar has not had a great reputation beyond the UK, and especially in Europe. The sound is lovely, with an excellent recording to match. There is nothing quirky or eccentric about the performances - I regard that as a plus - but lots of character, beautiful phrasing, wistfulness, nostalgia, fire and energy exactly as the music requires. It is particularly nice to see 'Sospiri', that strange rather private, sad little piece, in the programmme. None of these performances would be my first choice (for 'Enigma', for example, I would agree with Rob Cowan on a fairly recent BBC3 CD Review and go for Boult), but they are all up there in the first rank, and as a compilation of the very best of Elgar's orchestral music, this is most impressive.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear, unfussy, warm, beautiful Elgar. 21 Nov 2006
By BNW
Format:Audio CD
I have to say that I agree totally with the Amazon reviewer. The elegant simplicity of JEG's interpretations make for a superb listening experience. The warmth and tenderness you'd expect from Elgar is there, with the VPO's string sound quite superb. And whilst the playing is technically excellent, it's not merely functional - there's clearly a real engagement with the music.

As well as the warmth mentioned above, there's drive and excitement with just the right amount of precision to bring clarity to all the textures. You'll hear some aspects of the scoring you've never heard before (especially in the Enigma Variations), which is not only testament to the musicians, but also the sound engineers.

This is a top, top quality record. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Warm and tender" works best. 13 Feb 2011
By Mr. A. R. Boyes TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
There is much impressive playing and a warm clear acoustic that help this music no end but when the music is quiet or gentle, it's smooth sailing; but the more animated and dynamic music is more problematic: here this reserve, or lack of expression holds the music back - hardly classic Elgar. Some, however, may warm to this reserve. For me though, it is the tender music that works best. As a result, In the South, Enigma Variations and the Introduction and Allegro are inconsistent but the lovely miniature, Sospiri, is a revelation.

That the Vienna Philharmonic are able to handle Elgar's music shouldn't be such a great surprise given that Richard Strauss's music was a model for much of Elgar's.

So I can only give this four stars because as lovely as it sounds for much of the time, it falls short at the moments of greatest impact and drama. Overall though; maybe not one of the greats, but still an enjoyable disc with four fine works. It is the smallest and quietest voice, however, in Sospiri, that steals the show: Recommended with reservation.
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