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Elgar: Symphony No.2/ Enigma (Symphony No.2/ Enigma Variations) [DVD]  [NTSC]
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Solti recorded Elgars Symphony No.2 (along with the Cockaigne Overture) on audio around the same time as the Royal Festival Hall performance, to great acclaim. Soltis recordings were always the recommended version of each work he performed he had a deep understanding of the repertoire. This DVD is the first audiovisual recording to feature Solti performing Elgar 2, and has never been released before. The Second Symphony is also a record of the first concert Solti conducted as the London Philharmonics Chief Conductor in 1975. James Mallinson, one of Soltis record producers, commented that his audio recordings of the two Elgar symphonies are probably two of his finest recordings due to his open and fresh approach. Soltis quote at the time of broadcasting the Enigma Variations: I love Elgar, and for me the Enigma Variations is his masterpiece.
Solti's LPO Elgar remains fresh,the passionate vigour of his second Symphony balanced by one of the most loving Enigma variations on disc. Perfomance ***** Picture & Sound *** --BBC music Magazine,July'11
A bracing pair of Elgar performances deservedly rescued from the archives.Both the picture quailty and full-blooded(mono)sound are perfectly acceptable.Most rewarding-and a genuine tonic to boot. --Gramophone,Aug'11
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Is it due to my sound system ? (well i have a quite good Bose system), I would say the sound engineering of the second symphony sounds rather flat (while the Variations sound pretty well)
That's why I give of 4 instead of a 5.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
That said, we still need first rate DVDs of both Elgar symphonies! Are you listening, Andrew Davis?
Performance-wise these are quite good, if lacking the soul of a Barbirolli or Boult. If you can ignore the frantic thrashing about of Solti the conductor(looking for all the world like a manic praying mantis) you may enjoy these concerts. But the Nimrod variation in the Enigma (the emotional centerpiece)just doesn't have that magic touch that the best British conductors bring to it.
The sound is in mono only and it is screechy and grating on the ears. I tried every possible synthesized surround combination on my receiver, but no luck. There is no excuse for this, because the BBC was turning out great-sounding radio concerts in the 1970's and if memory serves, in stereo.
This label, ICA, has a bunch of these historic dvds coming out, both from Boston and the BBC. Based on this one, don't buy without hearing - you may end up with bleeding ears.
If you want a really outstanding Elgar dvd/Blueray, try the Cello Concerto with Alisa Weilerstein (conducted by Barenboim with the Berlin Phil.)This is everything a perfect concert should be - exemplary performance,video and sound. It also contains my now favorite Brahms Sym.1.