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Elgar: The Wand of Youth, Three Bavarian Dances, Polonia, Triumphal March

5.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Orchestra: London Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Adrian Boult
  • Composer: Edward Elgar
  • Audio CD (10 Jun. 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: EMI British Composers
  • ASIN: B000066CQU
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 312,576 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. 1. Overture (Allegro Molto)
  2. 2. Serenade (Andantino)
  3. 3. Minuet (Old Style) (Andante)
  4. 4. Sun Dance (Presto)
  5. 5. Fairy Pipers (Allegretto)
  6. 6. Slumber Scene (Moderato)
  7. 7. Fairies And Giants (Presto)
  8. 1. March (Alla Marcia: Allegro Moderato)
  9. 2. The Little Bells (Scherzino) (Allegro Molto)
  10. 3. Moths And Butterflies (Dance) (Allegretto)
  11. 4. Fountain Dance (Allegretto Comodo)
  12. 5. The Tame Bear (Allegro Moderato)
  13. 6. Wild Bears (Presto)
  14. 1. The Dance (Sonnenbichi) (Allegretto Giocoso)
  15. 2. Lullaby (In Hammersbach) (Moderato)
  16. 3. The Marksman (Bei Murnau) (Allegro Vivace)
  17. Polonia Op.76
  18. Triumphal March From 'Caractacus' Op.35
  19. Meditation From 'The Light Of Life' Op.29

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By DAVID BRYSON TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 1 Mar. 2016
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This is a record with a very special atmosphere to it. Elgar may have been in a depressed frame of mind when he looked back at some very early musical sketches and experienced a renewed desire to evoke the world of childhood through his music as that was now coloured by experience in his middle age. To the best of my knowledge he did not intend any kind of incidental music much less ballet. This music revives the hidden magic of childhood, and it does not cheapen that with attempts at illustration or depiction. The Bavarian Dances date from an earlier and obviously happier period, and are orchestral rearrangements of three German partsongs originally composed to words of Alice’s poetic afflatus around the time of a holiday in the Bavarian Alps.

Although it was hearing Polonia broadcast that drove me to buy this set (because I had never heard it, maybe never heard of it) the Wand of Youth is what it is really all about. It has aura is all I can say, it has enchantment, but I have an odd feeling that one may have to be a certain age to feel that fully. Maybe the experience of having infant grandchildren has something to do with it as well, but having suggested that I shall stop my theorising. It is based on thin air (hot or not) and it would be wrong to seem to exclude other kinds of music lover from the fullest enjoyment of this magical music. The score itself is the same for any listener, and so are the performers. I know for a melancholy fact that there are listeners who listen with their eyes, and when they have a picture of Sir Edward Elgar and Sir Adrian Boult as stiff old English gentlemen with bushy moustaches wearing pin-striped suits and bowler hats, that is actually what the pair looked like.

A pity indeed if anyone stops there.
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This collection of shorter pieces by Elgar, recorded in 1967 and 1974, is far from short in terms of musical value. The recording, although vintage, shows no real sign of age and is both well balanced and full ranging with good tonal reproduction.

The Wand of Youth suites were a revisiting of childhood themes but seen very much through the eyes of a mature and fully formed composer of considerable repute. They range from the delicate images of 'Fairy Pipers' and the gentle 'Slumber Scene' through to the more epic sections of 'Fairies and Giants' and the spirited finale's 'Wild Bears.' Every one of these thirteen short pieces is a miniature masterpiece which will repay countless playings.

Polonia is full of pomp and splendour in the 'Pomp and Circumstance' style. The image connection with Poland is very tentative as this sounds much more like British Imperialism at its noble best. Nevertheless it makes for an enjoyably rousing twelve minutes even if it might puzzle those looking for any suggestion of Poland. Equally rousing, and this time Roman Imperialism is the subject, is the Triumphal March from Caractacus. This is Elgar at his most imperious and suitably stirring once again. The other composition, loosely associated with foreign parts in terms of sound, are the Three Bavarian Dances. Again, there is more than just a whiff of land closer to home than Bavaria, but once again, all very enjoyable. The disc ends quietly with the Meditation from The Light of Life.

This disc is Elgar in patriotic mode and that suits Boult perfectly who brings a great sense of dignity and splendour coupled with architectural strength to much of the music as is totally appropriate. The orchestra, so used to working with Boult, follows his view instinctively.
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By hillbank68 TOP 500 REVIEWER on 18 Dec. 2005
This CD gathers some vintage performances from Boult, in particular the two 'Wand of Youth' suites which signalled, with other LPs, his return to recording in the late 1960s after a rather fallow period. His association then with HMV went on for about twelve years, with rich benefits for the classical listener. The 'Wand of Youth' music is absolutely delightful and is performed here with verve, spirit and, in some numbers, great tenderness. The 'Bavarian Dances', slight but characterful Elgar, came out at the same time ; the other short pieces are later. All are performed as well as they could be, all enjoyable, and the recording still sounds fine.
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In Wand of Youth Suites, you can find many unforgettable gems of Elgar's masterly orchestration - the sublimely beautiful 'Slumber Scene,' very nostalgic 'Tame Bear' and wonderfully evocative'Sun Dance' to name but a few. Adrian Boult/LPO gives very imaginative and heart-warming performances of the suites. The disc also includes Meditation from 'Light of Life', one of the most sublime music written by Elgar.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SUCH STUFF AS DREAMS ARE MADE ON 1 Mar. 2016
By DAVID BRYSON - Published on Amazon.com
This is a record with a very special atmosphere to it. Elgar may have been in a depressed frame of mind when he looked back at some very early musical sketches and experienced a renewed desire to evoke the world of childhood through his music as that was now coloured by experience in his middle age. To the best of my knowledge he did not intend any kind of incidental music much less ballet. This music revives the hidden magic of childhood, and it does not cheapen that with attempts at illustration or depiction. The Bavarian Dances date from an earlier and obviously happier period, and are orchestral rearrangements of three German partsongs originally composed to words of Alice’s poetic afflatus around the time of a holiday in the Bavarian Alps.

Although it was hearing Polonia broadcast that drove me to buy this set (because I had never heard it, maybe never heard of it) the Wand of Youth is what it is really all about. It has aura is all I can say, it has enchantment, but I have an odd feeling that one may have to be a certain age to feel that fully. Maybe the experience of having infant grandchildren has something to do with it as well, but having suggested that I shall stop my theorising. It is based on thin air (hot or not) and it would be wrong to seem to exclude other kinds of music lover from the fullest enjoyment of this magical music. The score itself is the same for any listener, and so are the performers. I know for a melancholy fact that there are listeners who listen with their eyes, and when they have a picture of Sir Edward Elgar and Sir Adrian Boult as stiff old English gentlemen with bushy moustaches wearing pin-striped suits and bowler hats, that is actually what the pair looked like.

A pity indeed if anyone stops there. Time should be helping Elgar shed the image by now, but the encroachment of oblivion, in Housman’s chilling phrase, may be working in the other direction as far as Boult is concerned. I wonder whether he really ever attained the public stature that his sheer greatness as a conductor deserved, and I think you would have to look far and wide to find a performance of the Wand of Youth that outpaces this one for lightness of touch, spring and flexibility in the rhythm and sheer joie de vivre. I have not carried out this kind of research because what I want this performance for is not because it is some theoretical ‘best’ but because it is a priceless monument, more lasting than bronze, to the special status of this great conductor as the prime interpreter of this great composer. You could be ‘better’ I suppose, but you can’t be another Boult.

Polonia is just fine, and very interesting. The composer of Pomp and Circumstance knew how to do this kind of thing, and I actually own a complete set of Caractacus directed by Hickox, so I have the luxury of two fine performances to choose from of the March. From The Light of Life I have the Prelude, and if any more of it comes my way there is that to add to my collection too.

Housman’s life shadowed Elgar’s by two years exactly, and they make a fascinating micro-epoch of their own. I suspect that The Laws of God were more of a burden on the Catholic Elgar than on the unbeliever Housman. Not enough people know just how funny Housman could be, nor what lightness of spirit Elgar could bestow on all of us. I wish them both as sound a sleep as lads’ I did not know.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A stirring and idiomatic set of shorter pieces by Elgar conducted with splendour and dignity 8 Feb. 2013
By I. Giles - Published on Amazon.com
This collection of shorter pieces by Elgar, recorded in 1967 and 1974, is far from short in terms of musical value. The recording, although vintage, shows no real sign of age and is both well balanced and full ranging with good tonal reproduction.

The Wand of Youth suites were a revisiting of childhood themes but seen very much through the eyes of a mature and fully formed composer of considerable repute. They range from the delicate images of 'Fairy Pipers' and the gentle 'Slumber Scene' through to the more epic sections of 'Fairies and Giants' and the spirited finale's 'Wild Bears.' Every one of these thirteen short pieces is a miniature masterpiece which will repay countless playings.

Polonia is full of pomp and splendour in the 'Pomp and Circumstance' style. The image connection with Poland is very tentative as this sounds much more like British Imperialism at its noble best. Nevertheless it makes for an enjoyably rousing twelve minutes even if it might puzzle those looking for any suggestion of Poland. Equally rousing, and this time Roman Imperialism is the subject, is the Triumphal March from Caractacus. This is Elgar at his most imperious and suitably stirring once again. The other composition, loosely associated with foreign parts in terms of sound, are the Three Bavarian Dances. Again, there is more than just a whiff of land closer to home than Bavaria, but once again, all very enjoyable. The disc ends quietly with the Meditation from The Light of Life.

This disc is Elgar in patriotic mode and that suits Boult perfectly who brings a great sense of dignity and splendour coupled with architectural strength to much of the music as is totally appropriate. The orchestra, so used to working with Boult, follows his view instinctively.

I would suggest that for anyone contemplating buying such a collection, this disc deserves to be very seriously considered. The performances are excellent as is the recording. No allowances need be made on either score. Boult simply demonstrates yet again his complete identification with, and mastery of, the Elgar idiom.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars State of innocence, tuneful is the operative word! 15 Sept. 2008
By Hiram Gòmez Pardo Venezuela - Published on Amazon.com
These early compositions of the most notable and renown English composer in the last 150 years, do not seem yet to have aroused not only the general interest of most audiences, but the reason that conveyed him to make it . The mature Elgar - perhaps nostalgically - looked back ion his early boyhood in Worcestershire. In this sense this a very reliable linking point respect Gustav Mahler.

The reason seem to date from his childish memories in which he concocted a playlet about "the perfect world" crowed of fairies, giants, moths, butterflies that lay down beyond the stream at the end of their Broadheath garden.

This aspect is worth to remark because all the compositions of Edward Elgar are nourished by a visible patina of existential reminiscences. To my mind there's no other (Tchaikovsky possibly in his first three symphonies) who has carried upon his shoulders a major burden of affective and emotional reminiscences than him.

So, in case you love and admire Elgar's compositions the most probably is you have this album, but if you don't go for it. It will reward you by far .
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