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ELGAR, E.: Symphony No. 1 / Falstaff (London Symphony, Elgar) (1930-1932)

Composer(s):Elgar, Edward
Artist(s) Elgar, Edward, Conductor • London Symphony Orchestra
Period(s) 20th Century
Genre Classical Music
Category Orchestral
Catalogue 8.111256
Label Naxos Historical
Quality   320kbps
 
 
 


Before its sensational première in 1908, Hans Richter, the work’s dedicatee and first conductor, acclaimed Elgar’s Symphony No. 1 as ‘the greatest symphony of modern times’. Although Falstaff is often treated merely comically, Elgar’s virtuosic tone poem presents him and Prince Hal with a psychological insight truly worthy of Shakespeare. On these historic and thrillingly realized recordings, made between 1930 and 1932, there really is no match for the composer’s insight and instinctive way with his own works, especially when conducting the London Symphony Orchestra, of which he had been principal conductor from 1911 to 1913.


   




Review By David Denton,Naxos,February 2009

There has an incredible amount of nonsense written claiming that Elgar’s fast tempos were the result of the short disc sides onto which he was recording. Such conjecture can be shown as worthless, many of his most mercurial tempos being coming on disc sides that were underused. Though he was seventy-three when he made this recording of the First Symphony, it is a very youthful, flexible and vigorous approach, never, even in the slow third movement, assuming the nostalgic mood that later brought a totally different approach from Barbirolli in his iconic discs with the Hallé. There is certainly plenty of swagger and Elgar received the most enthusiastic playing from the London Symphony. Ironically it is another Naxos release from the BBC Philharmonic, with

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