Customer Review

22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The 5 stars are for the contents and recording, not the design, 8 Nov. 2010
This review is from: Elgar: Violin Concerto / Polonia / Interlude from the Crown of India (Audio CD)
The first that came to my mind when listening to this (stunningly beautiful) recording was: mellow.
There lies grandeur and a certain `we'll not play it spectacular' atmosphere around this recording. I like it. It's the way I think Elgar was: a guy who liked to puzzle with one's feelings and could compose some most attractive music. So this is not a spectacular reading on the outside but on the inside it is and it is without any shortcomings. The pyrotechnics of the solo violin playing is great; the problem is that if you don't know how difficult it is for the violin you won't notice it and could think `oh another showpiece for the violin'. The way the orchestra plays and is recorded is very good. This is the way you can get an objective opinion of the SACD technique; this recording has depth and breathing room. Compare this with the awfully recorded SACD of Schmidt's symphony nr.4 on MDG and you know the Chandos engineers know what they do. The greatness of this recording lies in it's atmosphere and it's sound picture.
The Polonia on this CD has it all: an organ you can feel and brass which gives you the impression of presence without shattering the windows out of the house. I think it's one of those occasional Elgar pieces we won't hear very much but it's typically Elgar: professional. He has gone to many pains to give a detailed idea of the way he must have thought a Polish piece has to sound. So you get something like `A Englishmen in Warsaw'. I have a recording of this piece with a British orchestra under Panufnik which has a unbelievable false entry on the trumpets in the first 3 minutes but the trumpet players of the Scottish orchestra manage to get through although it doesn't sound very convincing all the way; more or less as if Ben Hur arrives 5 minutes late at the arena.
The bonus on this Cd is a lovingly reconstructed cadenza for the concerto which was composed for Marie Hall.

I'm sorry to say but I'd like to have a word with Chandos on the matter of design. Although I certainly agree the contents of this SACD must urge you to buy this concerto we in Holland say 'het oog wil ook wat' which means that the package must be as good as the contents. And sorry again but it's awful. It's my opinion that record companies mustn't sell violin-girls or sopranos as Playboy bunnies (like Jansen on Decca or Netrebko on DGG) but - how to put this mildly and polite? - middle of the road looking woman like Tasmin Little with an overdone lipstick and eyebrows and a cheap décolleté is not the way to present a disc like this. Second she has been photographed from above and the photographer must have said `smile picture' so Tasmin's neck looks like if it's broken. At the back of the CD you'll get a left arm... What is the use of it? Ran out of ideas?
The back of the booklet presents a picture of Andrew Davis: death metal design like Opeth's Ghost Reveries album. Print on the back: illegible: crème colours on brown. I'm 51 but it gave me some problems.
Chandos: if you want attention for your product use bright colours or a neutral but instantly attention seeking pictures like Dutton's series or the German CPO-label does.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 2 Jan 2011 10:23:41 GMT
Tricky Tree says:
I agree totally with your review of the music, but I like the picture on the front! I have been lucky enough to speak to Tasmin after a concert, and she is NOT middle of the road! The photo brings out her personality very nicely and I assume she was happy for the photo to go on the cover. Its hardly pornographic. Stop being such a snob!
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