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9 Reviews
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Big in every way
This is a wondrous performance and a real rethink of the work. It is somehow bigger than my previous favourites and displaces most of them in my affections. Of the versions I know well (Boult, Solti, Handley) only Handley stands up as a different but equally great account (although "equally great" may not be right - the Davis performance seems bigger but Handley is...
Published on 2 Oct 2008 by enthusiast

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2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A fuir !
Direction mollassonne et confuse, prise de son sourde... Je ne comprends pas comment ce disque peut plaire. Ecoutez Boult, Barbirolli, Sinopoli ou le récent Zinman (très peu cher !), c'est incomparable !
Published on 25 May 2008 by jlflori


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Big in every way, 2 Oct 2008
By 
enthusiast "enthusiast" (sussex, uk) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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This is a wondrous performance and a real rethink of the work. It is somehow bigger than my previous favourites and displaces most of them in my affections. Of the versions I know well (Boult, Solti, Handley) only Handley stands up as a different but equally great account (although "equally great" may not be right - the Davis performance seems bigger but Handley is equally stirring if less monumental). The weakness in the Davis account is surely the normally exciting second movement where Davis's rethink does seem to risk dullness at times (is this why two reviewers here hate this disk?). The great strength is surely the third, slow, movement which has never seemed so poignant. But it is not a matter of parts - it is the whole that satisfies. Even if you have a version ... or more than one ... you have to get this.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Davis does Elgar right, 10 Sep 2011
By 
Andrew R. Barnard (Leola, Pa United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Sir Edward Elgar completed this symphony in the summer of 1908. Only a few years before he had given a lecture in which he said that "Perhaps the (symphonic) form is somewhat battered by the ill-usage of its admirers. But when the looked-for genius comes, it may be absolutely revived." Who was the "looked-for" genius? Elgar himself! Elgar had many years of preparation for the composition of his symphonies. When he was a young boy, he devoured the scores of the Beethoven symphonies; little knowing he would one day write a great symphony himself.

The Symphony No. 1 was written when Elgar had fully matured. Elgar had played with the idea of writing a symphony ten years before he had actually completed one. (He originally planned to write a program symphony based on the life of General Gordon. The scraps of this attempt were later incorporated into his second symphony.) As Elgar himself wrote in a letter to Walford Davies, "There is no programme beyond a wide experience of human life with a great charity (love) and a massive hope in the future." This very aptly describes the symphony, which has a strongly heroic vein throughout. Even the Adagio has a real sense of heroic grandeur, not to mention the other movements.

Sir Colin Davis has a strong advantage over many other Elgar interpreters- he has under his direction the orchestra that Elgar himself was once the principal conductor of- the LSO. The LSO's rich, dark, quality is a wonderful compliment to Elgar's music. Davis leads the LSO to perform an absolutely outstanding rendition of this piece. While Davis' tempos may be somewhat slower than usual, this is more than made up for with powerful brass and timpani, as well as lush strings. With the slower tempo, Davis succeeds in pulling out wonderful detail. One moment you are next to a gently flowing brook, the next a galloping parade. The orchestra is superbly balanced throughout. Davis seems to know just when to emphasis beauty, but he also knows when put you on the edge of your seat. Highly, highly recommended.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top recording at a great price, 11 April 2002
By A Customer
At this sort of price one can not complain too much about most recordings however this one should be championed. Davis is a fine Elgarian and the LSO are in great form here- particularly the brass. The fact that it is live is of no effect to the sound quality and I would say gives the playing the sort of presence and energy one would associate with a good live performance. Highly recommended.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Suberb, 20 May 2004
By A Customer
I was absolutely shocked to read one of the above reviews damning this recording as not worth the money. Firstly, at this price how could it not be, and secondly, this recording is quite simply superb. I always think it's wonderful when they leave the applause on the end of live recordings so that you can hear how the audience responded to the performance. You only need to listen to the rapturous cheering that accompanies the end of this recording to realise what a great performance Davis draws from the LSO. To criticise it as too pedantic is to misunderstand the nature of Elgar's musical genius. The score is so fantastically colourful and this recording does it full justice: the second movement is so alive and exciting; the slow movement is so beautifully English and the inner theme of the final movement so strikingly poignant. I really cannot recommend this recording enough. I am taken aback that anyone could give it anything but five stars.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brave Breakaway from traditional polite Elgar, 9 July 2005
By 
Scriabinmahler (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Collin Davis' LSO Live recording of Elgar's 1st Symphony elevated this work to a different hight, with Wagnerian grandeur and bold handling of tempi. The traditionalists may find this offensive, but there is nothing dull nor pedantic about this perfromance at all. Quite opposite!

Slowsections are most beautifully sustained and sublime. Each climaxes are excuted masterfully with maximum impact. Finale is one of the most compelling and powerful with massive emphasis on cascading strings part. If you are tired of the traditional small scale Elgar, this recording is well worth listening along side Sinopoli's miraculous account on DG.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A most enjoyable concert, 12 Oct 2007
By 
aj1920 (London, England) - See all my reviews
I was at the Barbican concert hall at the performance of this symphony, played in Autumn '01, and it was indeed most enjoyable performed as it was: it received a rapturous round of applause from the audience, who were most glad to be there. Many talked about it in the queue for the cloakroom, afterwards. I'm certain this disc would be a good purchase.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ELGAR, MASTER OF MELODY., 25 Aug 2011
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If you like big tunes and big sounds, this is the
music for you. Please buy this record, especially if you are unfamiliar with this fine work. This recording contains some passionate playing,and I don't think it could be done any better.
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2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A fuir !, 25 May 2008
Direction mollassonne et confuse, prise de son sourde... Je ne comprends pas comment ce disque peut plaire. Ecoutez Boult, Barbirolli, Sinopoli ou le récent Zinman (très peu cher !), c'est incomparable !
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9 of 25 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Ahem!, 12 April 2002
By A Customer
Sorry but I found this really dull. Davis at his most literal and one-in-a-bar pedantic, despite every effort from the LSO to prove otherwise. Boult, Solti, or almost anyone, are better than this. Sound rather disappointing compared to much older studio versions. Not even worth the low price.
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