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Elgar: Symphony No. 2, Enigma Variations / Solti/London PO [DVD]

Album Summary

>Elgar, Edward : Symphony no 2 in E flat major, Op. 63
>Elgar, Edward : Enigma Variations
Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Solti recorded Elgar's Symphony No.2 (along with the Cockaigne Overture) on audio around the same time as the Royal Festival Hall performance, to great acclaim. Solti's 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.

"Both the picture quality and full-blooded (mono) sound are perfectly acceptable (though principal viola player Rusen Günes's contribution in "Dorabella" would have benefited from a rather less shy balance). The direction, too, is mercifully undistracting throughout. Most rewarding - and a genuine tonic to boot!" -Gramophone

"Between 1972 and 1980, Sir Georg Solti set down a number of hugely stimulating Elgar recordings for Decca; indeed, his dynamic yet wonderfully humane versions of the two symphonies (modelled to a large degree on the composer's electrifying interpretations) can still hold their own against all comers nearly four decades on.

ICA Classics' enterprising restoration of two performances with the LPO from the Royal Festival Hall (both originally broadcast on BBC2) is especially valuable for what is surely Solti's most successful reading of the Enigma Variations. This finds the maestro on infinitely more involving form than on either of his commercial recordings (the live VPO remake from 1996 is, on the whole, preferable to the worryingly slick 1974 studio version with the Chicago SO). "Nimrod" in particular is paced to flowing perfection, while the explosive virtuosity of "WMB", "Troyte" and "GRS" is most satisfyingly counterbalanced by the fragant poetry and winsome delicacy of "Ysobel", "WN" and "Dorabella".

The February 1975 performance of the Second Symphony immediately preceded the Decca sessions in Kingsway Hall. It is, quite simply, a document to treasure, with the LPO (as on the commercial recording) galvanised to thrilling effect by Solti's prodigiously energetic presence on the podium (one wouldn't want to be on the end of one of his whiplash left-arm jabs). Not surprisingly, perhaps, there's an extra edge-of-seat volatility and expressive freedom on show, the secondary material in both the first movement and Scherzo shaped with generous flexibility by a conductor who is clearly in love with the music. Otherwise, both accounts exhibit the same thrustingly purposeful manner, with the slow movement attaining even greater levels of noble intensity and rapt concentration than in the studio. The epilogue is profoundly moving in its valedictory radiance and burnished glow." -Gramophone

Fanfare
This is one of the great Elgar interpretations, filled with drama, color, and heart. Even though the 1979 Enigma Variations that comes with it is somewhat more pedestrian, the symphony commands the Elgarian's attention.

American Record Guide
One has to be impressed by the quality of the old material ICA has trawled up from the depths of the BBC archives. The Solti Elgar program is a particular find...

Notes & Reviews:

Run Time: 84 min.
Region: All
Picture Format: NTSC, 4:3
Sound Format(s): LPCM Mono,



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Works Details

>Elgar, Edward : Symphony no 2 in E flat major, Op. 63
  • Conductor: Sir Solti
  • Ensemble: London Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1909-1911

>Elgar, Edward : Enigma Variations
  • Conductor: Sir Solti
  • Ensemble: London Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1898-1899