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Elgar: Violin Concerto

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One of England's busiest and most recorded conductors of the late twentieth century, Vernon Handley emerged since the 1970s as the successor to Sir Adrian Boult and Sir John Barbirolli as the leading exponent of English music. Like Boult before him, he made a career specialty out of performing and recording symphonic music from England, some of it well-known and much of it overlooked by ... Read more in Amazon's Vernon Handley Store

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Product details

  • Orchestra: London Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Vernon Handley
  • Composer: Edward Elgar
  • Audio CD (26 Nov. 1991)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: EMI
  • ASIN: B000002S2A
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 88,468 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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View the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
  1. Violin Concerto in B Minor, Op.61: I. Allegro19:04Album Only
  2. Violin Concerto in B Minor, Op.61: II. Andante13:26Album Only
  3. Violin Concerto in B Minor, Op.61: III. Allegro molto - Cadenza (accompagnata: Lento) - Allegro molto (Tempo I)21:27Album Only

Product Description

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Frank Beck on 7 Jun. 2007
Format: Audio CD
Elgar played the violin himself, and this concerto is his greatest gift to his fellow violinists. When he composed the work in 1909 and 1910, there were already many concertos that gave room for virtuosic playing. Elgar did something different: he created a score that does not so much show what the violin can do as reveal all that it can say.

Here the solo violin yearns, rejoices, pleads and consoles, and then, in one of the most original cadenzas ever written for any instrument, it takes up many of the previous themes and views each familiar melody in an utterly new way. Basil Maine, Elgar's first biographer, said it best when he remarked that most cadenzas call for the soloist to step into the limelight. Elgar instead asks the player to step back into the twilit world of deepest introspection. In the hands of the right instrumentalist, the cadenza will have an audience holding its breath and the closing coda will provide a thrilling release.

Kennedy shows from his first entrance that he is at one with the concerto's elusive spirit. The first movement allegro is urgent and compelling. The andante unfolds as a gentle nocturne that rises to moments of more intimate intensity. Kennedy then brings a bracing lyricism to the third movement, which seems to be moving inexorably to a conventional conclusion when the orchestra retreats and leaves him and his violin, with only the frailest string accompaniment, to their musings. As Elgar wrote to the concerto's chief inspiration, Alice Stuart Wortley, 'the music sings of memories and hope.'

The first-rank recordings of this work stretch over nearly 80 years, beginning with Albert Sammons' landmark 1929 performance, and including two studio recordings by Yehudi Menuhin, one with the composer conducting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By I. Giles HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 31 Dec. 2013
Format: Audio CD
This disc has now been remastered to great effect and is far superior as sound to the earlier issue advertised here
The review for the same performance but in the remastered version is copy-pasted as follows:

...........................
The new remastered version of this disc

This disc couples Handley's Introduction and Allegro from 1983 with Kennedy's first recording of the concerto from 1984. Both originally appeared on budget priced EMI discs with the concerto achieving near cult status at that time. The Introduction and Allegro was originally coupled with Falstaff and is still in my collection. The concerto was finally deleted because of inferior sound which did not compete with the several later recordings of note from other violinists including himself with Rattle. This remastered version has greatly improved the sound by adding considerable presence, depth of field etc. and so once more, this disc enters my catalogue as a serious contender.

Getting the additional Introduction and Allegro out of the way first, all that needs to be said is that Handley gives a strong and idiomatic reading along the lines of Boult. The recording is very good and improved as above when compared to the previous issue.

Handley is a key factor when considering the two versions of this concerto by Kennedy. He has the full measure of the orchestral requirements and is not distracted from maintaining the forward momentum by investigating interesting sidelines en route. This in turn is an encouragement for Kennedy to keep moving, except of course, at the points where there is a genuine need to adopt a more relaxed pace. The extended coda in the finale is certainly allowed to develop without the need for forward pacing for example.
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 15 May 2003
Format: Audio CD
This is a beautifully interpreted performance by Nigel Kennedy, and the music simply speaks for itself. Elgar at his best.
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