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A really fine acount of Elgar's Enigma Variations, fresly spontaneous throughout and played with reat affection. The orchestra obviously knows and enjoys the music: the very opening has a disarming simplicity and the lyrical variations are played with considerable warmth. "Nimrod" starts with a rapt, hushed pianissimo and moves steadily to a firm climax, to be followed by a most delicate portrayal of "Dorabella". The two Allegro di molto variations, "W.M.B." and "C.R.S.", are properly exuberant and Leaper's reading weaves its way through the score with an innate understanding of its overall structure and the Elgarian emotional ebb and flow. The two most famous Pomp and Circumstance Marches, Nos. 1 and 4, follow, played with considerable gusto and then comes the Salut d'amour, not in the least sentimentalized. Finally, two Delius pieces: Brigg Fair, with excellent conributions from the woodwind and a fine horn solo in the lovely languorous central episode, and In a Summer Garden, also well played ... this disc gives much pleasure and is very well recorded: the acoustics of the Concert Hall of Bratislava (Slovak) Radio are excellent, spacious yet without blurring detail, and lending a bloom to wind and strings alike.
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