Saturday, March 25, 2017
Edward Elgar is my favorite British composer. Here is a new recording of the following works: Elgar: Symphony No. 2 in E flat major, Op. 63 Chanson de Matin, Op. 15 No. 2 Mina Carissima Performed by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Vasily Petrenko conducting. More emotionally complex and ambiguous than the first symphony by Edward Elgar, the 2nd seems to hint at the horrible events that would be unleashed just three years later. This eagerly awaited Elgar 2 from Petrenko and the RLPO will further delight those fans who bought their recording of the 1st Symphony last year. Here is the second movement from the second symphony by Elgar:
Moser/Orchestre de la Suisse Romande/Manze (Pentatone)The two major cello works paired up here by Johannes Moser deal with nostalgia in ways that are poles apart. It’s Tchaikovsky’s sunny Variations on a Rococo Theme that comes off best. Moser plays the composer’s original version, and sets off at a brisk trot – rococo is not going to be a byword for prissy. But the lightness is balanced by a gently yearning lyricism, and he shapes the minor-key variation into one long, seamless line. The playful exchanges between cello and orchestra in the next variation are beautifully handled; throughout, Andrew Manze and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande are supportive at every turn. They and Moser also do a lovely job of the three short Tchaikovsky pieces that fill up the disc. Elgar’s dark Cello Concerto brings a performance from Moser that is mercurial, imaginative and, unsurprisingly, more obviously heart-on-sleeve, but the finale feels too impulsive to knit the whole thing together. Continue reading...
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/Petrenko (Onyx)Talking about his Symphony No 2, Elgar said “it was absolutely correct to say the whole thing represents the ‘passionate pilgrimage’ of a soul”. There’s a terrible struggle in the grand opening movement, lurching back and forth between soaring, whooping melody and poetic introspection. Vasily Petrenko displayed a perceptive understanding for Elgar in his disc with the RLPO of Symphony No 1. Here again, flexibility of tempi, contrasts between lyricism and angst, are brought out with expansive yet controlled playing: the horns and, in the melancholy Larghetto, the woodwind especially. Strings are firm and refined throughout. The Rondo opening dances. Three short pieces, Carissima, Mina and Chanson de Matin Op 15/2 are a welcome bonus. Continue reading...
Bridgewater Hall, Manchester Putting the composer’s majestic symphony at the top of the bill was an excellent decision in a revealing, if unorthodox, evening For the opening concert of the Hallé’s three-day Elgar mini festival, Mark Elder felt compelled to make an announcement to assure us there had not been a printing error in the programme. Yes, he really did intend to start the concert with the majestic First Symphony and follow it with a second half of lighter bits and pieces.There was method to this strange choice of sequencing, however. As Elder explained, it was commonplace in Elgar’s day for the main event to be placed before the interval. It kept one’s concentration fresh for an expansive reading of the First Symphony that nudged towards the hour mark, although the mesmerising adagio seemed to drift in a state of endless suspension like a fine mist. Continue reading...
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg is at the Royal Opera House, while the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic do Faust and an Elgar choral opus gets an outingDirector of opera Kasper Holten bids farewell to Covent Garden with a new production of Wagner’s great comedy, conducted by Antonio Pappano. Continue reading...
Dates: Monday, 11 September – Wednesday, 13 September 2017 Tonhalle MAAG David Zinman Honorary Conductor Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich Michael Reid, Clarinette Program Bedrích Smetana Aus: «Mein Vaterland» Nr. 2 «Die Moldau» Joseph Haydn Sinfonie D-Dur Hob. I:104 Edward Elgar «Enigma-Variationen» op. 36 Aaron Copland Klarinettenkonzert Nurturing the next generation of conductors David Zinman founded the American Academy of Conducting at the […]
Sir Edward William Elgar (2 June 1857 23 February 1934) was an English composer, many of whose works have entered the British and international classical concert repertoire. Among his best-known compositions are orchestral works including the Enigma Variations, the Pomp and Circumstance Marches, concertos for violin and cello, and two symphonies. He also composed choral works, including The Dream of Gerontius, chamber music and songs. Although Elgar is often regarded as a typically English composer, most of his musical influences were not from England but from continental Europe. He felt himself to be an outsider, not only musically, but socially. In musical circles dominated by academics, he was a self-taught composer; in Protestant Britain, his Roman Catholicism was regarded with suspicion in some quarters; and in the class-conscious society of Victorian and Edwardian Britain, he was acutely sensitive about his humble origins even after he achieved recognition. After a series of moderately successful works his Enigma Variations (1899) became immediately popular in Britain and overseas. His later full-length religious choral works were well received but have not entered the regular repertory. The first of his Pomp and Circumstance Marches (1901) is well-known in the UK and in the US. Elgar has been described as the first composer to take the gramophone seriously. Between 1914 and 1925, he conducted a series of recordings of his works. The introduction of the microphone in 1925 made far more accurate sound reproduction possible, and Elgar made new recordings of most of his major orchestral.
Great composers of classical music