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Customer Review

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Boult brings his usual authoritative approach to this familiar music, 23 April 2013
This review is from: Elgar - Orchestral Works - Enigma Variations - Pomp & Circumstance Marches Nos. 1-5 (Audio CD)
This disc, compiled from recordings made in 1971 and 1977, encapsulate Boult's gift as an interpreter of Elgar's music. The recording itself, although not of the very latest provenance and thus lacking ultimate HD definition, is still faithful and fully up to the task of conveying Boult's view and providing considerable satisfaction. There is a clear sense of an authoritative musical mind at work here based on many years of practical experience.

Boult characteristically brings an objective splendour to his view of Elgar. There is none of the overt emotional response of a Barbirolli for instance but its very restraint delivers an accumulative emotional punch that comes directly from the music rather than from any imposed interpretation. This is why Boult is still so powerful as an Elgar conductor and why the recordings he made simply do not date, but appear to gain in wisdom as the years go by. More overtly emotional or subjective views run the risk of becoming unfashionable or dated. This is unlikely to happen to such a clear sighted and straight approach as Boult's.

The same clear sighted and objective approach is equally applied to the five marches and, as with the variations, this gives them a strength that will add to their longevity.

At this point it must be mentioned that there are other, equally valid views of the Enigma, not least that by Monteux and the LSO. His famously exciting and passionate recording has been wonderfully re-mastered and is now available coupled with an equally involving Dvorak 7 on Decca Eloquence label.

However, Boult's fine disc of readings here is the sort that will survive the passing of time and its transient fashions. I would suggest that this, along with other recordings of Elgar's music by Boult, deserves serious consideration by all potential purchasers. The readings may not have the high excitement of the passing moment but they will fully repay years of repeat listening and will be impervious to the whims of passing fancy. I would also supplement this with Monteux's reading of the Enigma as mentioned above.
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