Composer: Edward Elgar
Orchestra: BBC Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Edward Gardner
Number of Discs: 1 CD
Format: FLAC (tracks)
Bit Depth: 24bit / 96kHz
Number of channels: 2.0
Size: 1.03 GB
Scan: yes (PDF)
Edward Elgar – Symphony No. 2 & Serenade for Strings
Symphony No. 2 in E-Flat Major, Op. 63
01. I. Allegro vivace e nobilmente
02. II. Larghetto
03. III. Rondo
04. IV. Moderato e maestoso
Serenade in E Minor, Op. 20
05. I. Allegro piacevole
06. II. Larghetto
07. III. Allegretto
Following a highly-praised recording of Symphony No. 1 last year, Edward Gardner and the BBC Symphony present here an electrifying interpretation of Elgar’s Symphony No. 2, with the addition of one of his most performed works: the Serenade for Strings.
Having now become experts in British repertoire with highly lauded series of Walton and Britten, they reveal all the aspects of Elgar’s masterpiece in this surround sound recording. Symphony No. 2 is richly orchestrated and skilfully constructed, drawing on hugely varied resources of harmony, rhythm and melody, and making considerable use of thematic transformation as a unifying technique.
While the Symphony No.2 is one of the greatest products of Elgar’s maturity, the Serenade in E minor for Strings is perhaps the most charming product of his youth. In this three-movement piece dominated by a deeply passionate Larghetto, the strings of the BBC Symphony superbly encapsulate all the emotions offered by this graceful work: tender, lyrical and intense.
BBC Music Magazine
From the wonderful lyrical springboard opening right through to the final slow fade there’s a singing line that rises, falls and snakes its way through everything…The Serenade for Strings here reminds one how much more there is to this piece than an engaging miniature. The recordings are ideally suited to Gardner’s approach: warm-toned, but clear, so that all the strands and facets in Elgar’s complex orchestral texture are clear without being brought analytically forward.
Elgar’s epigraph to his Second Symphony, from Shelley, “Rarely, rarely comest thou, Spirit of Delight!”, can be taken two ways: with the emphasis on “rarely”, or in the sense “yet it does come”. Gardner’s vigorous reading favours the latter meaning. His finale is powerfully positive — the abrasive development played down, the conclusion radiant.
The recording quality of this Elgar disc is superb. The BBC Symphony, caught at the Watford Colosseum, exudes a depth of sound that seems to elude them in live concerts at the Barbican. The long expanse of the first movement of the Second Symphony is gorgeous. …this is a tremendous performance that breathes nobility and confidence. The volatility of the third movement Rondo balances the mystery of the finale. The Serenade for Strings is the perfect complement, taking a lighter emotional toll, Gardner alive to the first movement’s rhythmic heartbeat. Melodies swell throughout just as they should, fresh as can be. A lovely performance.
It’s the soul of a great symphony revealed here in its total greatness. And don’t imagine that the Serenade is just an add- on. It isn’t, not in this equally suitable interpretation.
Classical CD Review
Edward Gardner’s BBC Symphony Orchestra take is commensurate in achievement with everything else that the conductor has set down for the company recently – a performance of real heft and drama. The bonus is a sympathetic reading of one of Elgar’s most performed works: the Serenade for Strings.