2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Santa Fe Listener
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Although the music of Elgar is peripheral in American concert halls (and would be negligible, I imagine, if you subtracted performances of the Enigma Var. and a few Pomp and Circumstance marches), there are dozens of recordings of his two completed symphonies. I'm not an expert by an means, and yet I've recently listened to four versions of the magnificent Sym. #2, which gets overlooked compared with the more popular Sym. #1. The oldest of the four was a classic EMi recording under sir John Barbirolli and his Halle Orch., made in 1964. As a twenty-seven-year-old, Barbirolli made a name for himself as a last-minute substitute leading the Elgar Second, and for the rest of is life he was closely identified with Elgar's music. One could get along very well with no other recording of the Second than this one, which is passionate and committed; the sound is not very dated, and the Halle, never a great ensemble technically, play splendidly for their long-time maestro.
The other three recordings I listened to are more recent: Sir Mark elder, once again with the (much improved) Halle on the orchestra's house label; Sir Colin Davis and the London Sym. on another house label, LSO Live; and this splendid reading under Sir Andrew Davis and the Philharmonia - the orchestra has a de facto house label in Signum, with whom they have contractual ties. All three recordings come from live concerts, but for me, a clear favorite is this one from Andrew Davis. It is the best recorded, with vivid, close-up sound that makes the LSO one sound distant and somewhat dry. But the real advantage is the conductor's extra emotion and intensity, which come close to matching if not surpassing Barbirolli's. The Adagio is sung with moving intensity, and the other three movements are vital and grand in quite an imperial manner. Elgar was a deep and often melancholy character, but he took upon himself the confidence of someone born into empire, and this reading has a rousing swagger.
On the used market one gets the first disc, containing Sym. 1, for free, and it, too, is a good reading, although not as special as the other. Barbirolli left a great live recording of the Elgar First on BBC Legends that will be hard to compete with for a very long time. Sir Andrew runs a respectable second, along with half a dozen other conductors in this work.In both scores the Philharmonia outdoes the LSO under Colin Davis, although the latter aims at more inwardness and subtlety than what is asked for here. In any event, there is hardly a bad Elgar symphony recording in the catalog, so far as I can find, so it was a surprise to find that this Sym. #2 ran ahead so decisively.
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This is an unbelievable phenomenon ! Same conductor (Sir Andrew Davis),Same orchestra (PO) and different level of performance :Sym 1
and Froissart suffer from almost terrible conduction Sym2 is performed heavenly and even made me shed some tears after I heard it.How come?
Symphomy 1 is a full of emotions but played here in a manner like port dry wine without a bit of moisture. The pace in Mov 1+2 is quick
and dry .When I listen I feel like a horse rushed by a whip. Mov. 3 still pace dry and winds weepy less quick tempo.
Mov. 4 too fast and dry drums sound muffled.
Track no.2 symphony 1 1st mov. actually lasts 20.18 minutes instead of 7.32 minutes incorrect printed on cover.
Froissart played in rusty sound heard like from a hollow.
Sym. 2 on the other hand is conducted marvellously .Pace better The conduction is fluent with marking in the right places.Music is poetic
and lyric and seems like pouring out of the orchestra (Largheto) with climax reminding Bruckner 3rd.
Drums roar accordingly and tune is a bit mysterious(Mov.2)
Mov3 (Rondo presto )starts naughty and joyful ensues lyric smooth playing. Winds solo roles are exspressed.The Mov culminates with
mild eruptions. Mov.4 (Moderato Maestoso) is a hymn song for beauty on earth with pace reassuring until music fades away.
Only for the 2nd symphony grab this CD and put in your collection.
After listening to 2nd symphony I was deeply moved!