Elgar - Enigma Variations; In the South (Alassio); String Serenade
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The Philharmonia is on sumptuous form, the full orchestra making a splendid sound in the richly scored In the South, and the woodwind, horn, violin, viola and cello relishing their solos. Davis s reading of the Variations is full of good touches, with well-chosen tempi...culminating in a finely paced and viscerally exciting finale. --David Cairns, The Sunday Times, June 14, 2009
Top Customer Reviews
My advice to anyone would be to get a few readings of The Varitions as the speed and balance varies so much between conductors and orchestras. Whatever, the work will live as one of those supreme pieces where Elgar portrays all his friends through the medium of some wonderful music.
Buy this one for real sense that you are there hearing every detail. A real cracker of a recording which when added to the superb In The South and Serenade for Strings makes this an odd-on winner in my book. Enjoy it
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
the recording is very clear and vivid, so there's plenty of impact from the percussion and a robust brass sound. I'd go so far as to give this Cd the palm for sound, even above my old favorite, the Decca recording with Monteux and the London Sym. The Enigmas don't feature many solos, but when there are snatches of solo playing, the Philharmonia first desks live up to their reputation for elegance. For many listeners the touchstone of any Enigma is the 'Nimrod' variation, which Davis conducts with a lovely quiet elegiac feeling, never milking the melody. The finale, Var. 14, is telling, in that Davis keeps it under control rather than letting it run free. Overall this is a shaped reading rather than a spontaneous one, very satisfying on its own terms.
In the South isn't unbuttoned, either, yet there is a controlled exhilaration in the playing that is very appealing. Davis doesn't let the orchestral texture get too thick, and the orchestra once again comes through with thrilling execution. The album ends with the Serenade for Strings. For decades Barbirolli's EMI recording from the mid-Sixties has been the classic recommendation. Davis doesn't equal its fervent, heart-on-sleeve romanticism, but on the other hand, the Philharmonia strings are more supple and elegant. In all, one can find a dozen CDs of Elgar's orchestral chestnuts -- a cottage industry turns them out in Jolly Old -- but this one has its special features.