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Elgar: Symphony no 1 / Sir Colin Davis, London SO

Album Summary

>Elgar, Edward : Symphony no 1 in A flat major, Op. 55
Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

When rehearsing the LSO in 1908 for a performance of Elgar's Symphony No. 1, the legendary conductor Hans Richter described it as "the greatest symphony of modern times, and not just by an Englishman." This performance from LSO Live, the London Symphony Orchestra's own CD label, was recorded live in September and October 2001 at the Barbican Centre in London, England. In an advance CD review, The Guardian stated: "Startlingly daring... a totally unified view of the work."

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
This thrillingly combustible account easily holds its own in the most exalted company. Davis's is a patient, noble conception, yet lacking absolutely nothing in thrusting drama, freshfaced character and tender poetry. Certainly, Sir Colin steers a marvellously confident course through the epic first movement, the musicmaking always comprehensive in its emotional scope and hitting genuine heights in the development.

The Scherzo is another great success, the glinting, defiant swagger of the outer portions counterbalanced by the delectable grace and point these eloquent players lavish on the Trio. Just one small interpretative quibble: Davis's inorganic slackening of tempo during the sublime transition into the slow movement (listen to Barbirolli's unforgettable 1956 HallT account to hear how it should be done). As for the great Adagio itself, Davis's intensely devotional approach works beautifully. The finale positively surges with purposeful bite, fire and sinew, while the glorious closing pages really do raise the roof. The expertly balanced sound doesn't have quite the bloom that EMI and Decca achieved for Boult and Solti on their classic analogue versions, but it amply conveys the tingling electricity and physical impact of a special event. At this price, this is one to snap up.


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Works Details

>Elgar, Edward : Symphony no 1 in A flat major, Op. 55
  • Conductor: Colin Davis
  • Ensemble: London Symphony Orchestra
  • Notes: Barbican Center, London, England (09/30/2001-10/01/2001)
  • Running Time: 54 min. 26 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1907-1908