Thursday, August 25, 2011
Barbirolli Conducts Elgar EMI 5CDs
The box collects the following classic and essential recordings.
Symphonies 1 & 2, with Philharmonia Orchestra and Hallé Orchestra (rec. 1962 and 1964).
Introduction and Allegro, with Allegri string quartet and Sinfonia of London - a legendary recording from 1962.
Serenade, Sinfonia of London, 1962.
Elegy, Sospiri, and Froissart with New Philharmonia Orchestra, recorded in 1966.
Cockaigne, Philharmonia Orchestra, 1962.
Falstaff, with Hallé Orchestra, recorded in 1964.
Enigma Variations, Philharmonia Orchestra, recorded in 1962.
Pomp and Circumstances, Philharmonia Orchestra, recorded in 1962 and 1966.
Sea Pictures, with Janet Baker and London Symphony Orchestra, recorded in 1965 - a legendary recording.
Cello concerto, with Jacqueline du Pré and London Symphony Orchestra, recorded in 1965 - another legendary recording.
All these are crème de la crème Elgar interpretations, and many of them have a legendary status. The only real complaint is that EMI could have added Barbirolli's excellent interpretation of Elgar's Gerontius as well. And even if EMI has not provided new digital remasterings but only collected their old ones in this box - just to mention another possible complaint - it is an essential, shelf-space saving purchase. Sonically, the recordings are all very fine.
In sum, this is the best Elgar collection you can get for your money. The only rival is Leonard Slatkin's Elgar box (RCA), but it's no match for Barbirolli's box, even if it is good in in own right. Strongly and warmly recommended!