Elgar: Symphony No. 1
Sir Edward Elgar: Symphony No. 1—Berlin State Orchestra/Daniel Barenboim (Decca 4789353)
The Elgar First has always been more popular in England than anywhere else, and it’s a source of some frustration for fans of this great work that it hasn’t “caught on” internationally. So imagine the sceptered isle’s surprise and delight when a recording by a German orchestra and a conductor with citizenship in Argentina, Israel and Spain turned out to be authoritative! Edward Seckerson ends his Gramophone review of this March 2016 release with these words: “So there isn’t a tempo, a turn of phrase or a rubato anywhere that I would take issue with. More importantly, the whole feels thoroughly integrated and gloriously spontaneous. This is up there, you’ll have gathered, with the very finest that the gramophone has yet given us of this great – and finally, I hope, universally celebrated – symphony.” And the New York Times said: "If anyone can make a case for Elgar outside Britain, and without special pleading, it’s Daniel Barenboim, returning to conduct this British composer’s works. With his dark-tone orchestra, this is an argument for Elgar as inheritor to Brahms.” This month we’ll give this great recording as much exposure as a 51-minute work can get!
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