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Sir Edward Elgar (1857-1934) was England's greatest composer since the death of Henry Purcell in 1695. He was a relatively late developer, with his first major symphonic work, the Enigma Variations (1898-99), being produced when he was already in his forties.
Elgar wrote two very fine symphonies that unerringly captured the zeitgeist of Edwardian England; both are included in this set in superb performances by Bernard Haitink. The first disc ends with two additional Elgar pieces performed by the late lamented Richard Hickox.
Symphony No. 1 in A flat Op. 55: I. Andante: nobilmente e semplice - Allegro
Symphony No. 1 in A flat Op. 55: II. Allegro molto
Symphony No. 1 in A flat Op. 55: III. Adagio
Symphony No. 1 in A flat Op. 55: IV. Lento - Allegro
Pomp and Circumstance No. 5 in C major Op. 39 No. 5
Sospiri Op. 70
Serenade in E minor Op. 20: I. Allegro piacevole
Serenade in E minor Op. 20: II. Larghetto
Serenade in E minor Op. 20: III. Allegretto - Come prima
Symphony No. 2 in E flat Op. 63: I. Allegro vivace e nobilmente
Symphony No. 2 in E flat Op. 63: II. Larghetto
Symphony No. 2 in E flat Op. 63: III. Rondo (Presto)
Symphony No. 2 in E flat Op. 63: IV. Moderato e maestoso
Cockaigne (In London Town) - Concert Overture Op. 40
“Magnificent Elgar from Haitink, masterfully balancing long-range sweep and fine orchestral detail, and finding ferocious brilliance in the First Symphony's Scherzo. Boult's Cockaigne is a coruscating bonus.”
“conductor and orchestra seem alert to every nuance of Elgar's wonderful scoring. They make the most of the stranger and more remote regions of this great work, resulting in a performance that is full of interest as well as beautifully played and very well paced by Haitink.”
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