“Albert Sammons' 1929 account of Elgar's Violin Concerto with Sir Henry Wood and the New Queen's Hall Orchestra remains the finest version ever made, outstripping even the legendary Menuhin/Elgar collaboration from three years later in terms of authoritative grip, intuitive poetry and emotional candour. Previous transfers to CD have varied from satisfactory to merely tolerable and unacceptably botched. So it's a pleasure to encounter Mark Obert-Thorn's judicious restoration for Naxos. Delius heard Sammons perform the Elgar in May 1915, and was so bowled over that he set about writing a concerto for the formidable virtuoso. Sammons premiered the work with Boult in January 1919 but had to wait a full quarter of a century before committing it to disc. Here is another irreplaceable document: Sammons was an assiduous champion of this glorious music, and although the solo playing hasn't quite the effortless technical mastery of its companion here, his wise and unforced interpretation penetrates to the very core of Delius's lovely vision. An admirable introduction to a truly great fiddler, irresistible at the price.”
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