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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
32
4.6 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 26 April 2017
Always liked Elgar and this disc did not dissapoint.
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on 13 May 2017
Beautiful recording
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on 6 June 2012
I was hoping for a decent recording being as it was a DGG release. I was also hoping for decent performances being as it was Norman del Mar and the RPO.

Well, I pretty much got the performances I was looking for: nice and crisp when required, and very well crafted throughout. The opening movement is a little languid for the "andante" score marking, but it provides a magical introduction to the variations, and to the final rip-roaring allegro - presto in particular.

However, sometimes the recording sounds as if the microphones were way up in the "gods" (they were recorded in Guildford Cathedral): nothing much wrong with the dynamic range or most of the sound palette, but the decay time is quite long and there is a really boomy reverberation when the lower pitched instruments, timpani and bass drum are playing together, as in the 14th and final variation.

The 5 marches are played with great gusto, but again a highly reverberant bass muddies the waters now and then. If you are hooked on bass, then the sound will be pleasing for you, but for me, even with a bit of bass cut, it is too overwhelming.

There may be technically better recordings available than this 1976 A-D-D offering, albeit at higher prices. Musically, (i.e. performance-wise) this one is hard to fault.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 28 February 2007
Norman del Mar was a much-loved and usually very effective conductor. He recorded very little, which is a pity, but his reputation was never front-rank whatever his qualities, and it's names that sell records of familiar repertoire. So it is very nice to have this excellent account of 'Enigma' backed by these spirited marches. The Variations are beautifully played and very well characterised with well-judged tempi and phrasing that is neat and/or lyrical as required. When I first heard the recording (on the radio years ago) I did not know who was conducting and immediately thought of some very big names. Well, del Mar wasn't one of those, but this is still one of the best versions in the catalogue.
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on 14 July 2012
The Enigma variations together with the Marches is a nice coupling and they get decent playing from Del Mar and the RPO. Sound is good for mid 70's and performances
are nigh on ideal. I say that as I have heard more moving accounts of Nimrod but can't grumble at the price.
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on 23 April 2004
Anyone who is familiar with the work of Sir Edward Elgar who has not heardthis already, will love this collection. I am a relatively young fan ofclassical music at 28!! and I find this CD a real relaxer!!
The Enigma variations are 16 pieces of Music based on friends and family,and the personal nature of them really does shine through. The most famousof them being IX Nimrod, which everyone who is familiar with RememberanceSunday will be familiar with, its a piece of music that really does makeyou sit and think, and is based on an argument between 2 composers, butfor me it reeks of bravery, valour and Englishness.
Pomp and circumstances Marches Nos 1-5 Op 39, are 5 Marches, on average 5mins long each which will blow the cobwebs away after the dreamyvariations. No1 is the famous Land of Hope and Glory tune, but the othersare just as good, and listening to them will have you right in the AlbertHall on proms night.
A cracking piece of history, welcome to middle England, welcome to theenigma that is Sir Edward Elgar (1857-1934)
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on 5 January 2016
Del Mar takes a broader view than usual with the marches, favouring cracking speeds and lots of rubato. However the orchestra are terrific, reliving these popular works. I withdraw one star because the recording may be too resonant for some.Nevertheless little detail is missing.The trios especially bring a lump to one's throat. The variations are given a performance of much warmth. This collection has recently been reissued on Eloquence.
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on 25 October 2009
No, I don't know the conductor's boxer shorts size, nor the name of the lead violinist's pet ferret, as I'm not expert on classical music, but I can vouch for the fact that this CD contains some superb music!

The Enigma Variations are thoughtful, enjoyable pieces, most relaxing and quiet, but with a few exciting moments. Not the sort of thing to listen to whilst serving dinner to a houseful of kids (in our house anyway!), but perfect for a quiet meal with someone special.

The Pomp and Circumstances marches are loud, exciting and lively. Apart from the famous Land Of Hope And Glory, you'll probably recognise the 4th as well. Our 5 year-old can sing this one - and she does, loudly! This is the sort of music you CAN play whilst serving the kids, and you could still hear the music (if you have it turned up a bit).

Great CD, well worth every penny.

How was that for a non-pretentious review? Not bad eh?
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on 25 May 2013
Anyone not into classics yet, should try this one first - beautiful, relaxing music and with the uncomparable 'Nimrod' that stirs the heart and lifts the Soul; I can't stop playing it - Royal Philharmonic well done!
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on 4 June 2010
The CD reflects everything that one comes to expect of Elgar. Side one with the softer more rythmic easy listening type of music, with side two the rousing Pomp and Circumstance Marches 1.....5. With no1 and no4 being the better well known.This is a CD to suit all moods and an ideal CD for the car traveller, as it can be both soothing and uplifting.
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