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Elgar: Violin Concerto - Interlude from The Crown of India - Polonia

Elgar: Violin Concerto - Interlude from The Crown of India - Polonia

16 Nov 2010
4.5 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 16 Nov. 2010
  • Release Date: 1 Nov. 2010
  • Label: Chandos
  • Copyright: ℗© 2010 Chandos
  • Total Length: 1:14:49
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B0048WWEX2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 61,053 in Albums (See Top 100 in Albums)
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Format: Audio CD
Fans of Tasmin Little--especially those of us on the other side of "the pond" who cannot easily attend her concerts--must have been overjoyed to see she had recorded the Elgar violin concerto. My copy went straight from the mailbox to the player. I think a prior reviewer, Mr. Voogd, has the essence of the matter completely right. This is an undemonstrative performance that in its quiet way adds up to something gigantic. The piece encompasses a paradox reminiscent of those grand canvasses which are also intimate and personal. Tasmin Little, it seems, has a personality that uniquely fits Elgar's conception. She has a large, capacious technique and also a fine understanding of the composer's heart. Rather than subsume her own personality or use it for the sake of display, she matches it to the composer's expressiveness. The result, perhaps, is a recording that will make Tasmin Little synonymous with Elgar's concerto in something of the way that Elisabeth Schwarzkopf is identified with Richard Strauss's Marschallin. Comparisons are not always helpful, but I suspect that the best recordings of this concerto might be the first of the electrics--Albert Sammons with Henry Wood, in the late 'twenties--and this one.

A fascinating pendant to the complete recording is a reconstruction of the accompanied cadenza, in the final movement, that Elgar created for an acoustic recording of the concerto in 1916. The present performance by Ms. Little and orchestra serves to show --in case anyone ever doubted it-- that the cadenza is the heart and soul of the concerto. I only wish that the producers of this CD had added a separate band in the full concerto recording to let one listen from the start of the cadenza.
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By I. Giles HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on 11 Dec. 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This recording, made by Chandos in 2010, presents Elgar's fine concerto in a typically clear and full ranging sound. The violin balance is excellent although at first the violin seems just a little distant or lacking in sheer weight. This balance is actually far more realistic than the 'jumbo' violins we are distressingly treated to by many other companies. It also faithfully reproduces Tasmin Little's finely honed tonal palette which stands in clear contrast to some of the more muscular approaches. Those who have become enamoured of the Menuhin tonal characteristics may initially find this to be a little on the thin side. However that would be an unfortunate and mistaken reaction and one's ear quickly adjusts.

Tasmin Little provides an affectionate view of the many reflective passages in the concerto but never for a moment strays into emotionalism. The faster passages, and especially those involving double stopping at speed, are regularly delivered at speeds greater than is often the case. They are delivered with immaculate intonation and rhythmical control while often accelerating and this adds a considerable excitement to the reading. In many ways there are similarities here with the Kyung Wha Chung playing at the start of her meteoric career and nobody had a word to say about lack of tone or strength in her case. Neither should they in this.

There are, of course, many other fine performances now available as the concerto has now become fully accepted as one of the very greatest of the 20th century violin concertos and with this status has come increasing choice for the collector.
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Format: 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.
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