ELGAR: Symphony No 2 and Serenade for Strings. BBC Music Magazine – Orchestral Choice

Sir Edward Elgar (1857-1934):  Symphony No. 2 in Eb Major, Op. 63, Serenade for Strings in E minor, Op. 2

BBC Symphony Orchestra,  Edward Gardner

BBC Music Magazine, Orchestral Choice, August 2018 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.”

The Sunday Times: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 lovely Serenade completes a fine disc.”

About this CD

Following a highly-praised recording of Symphony No. 1 last year, (see below) 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.

Chandos SACD CHSA5197 @ £11 plus P&P

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Sir Edward Elgar (1857-1934): Introduction and Allegro, Op. 47*, Symphony No. 1, Op. 55
Doric String Quartet* BBC Symphony Orchestra,  Edward Gardner

The Sunday Times The British conductor is a seasoned Elgarian, and he coaxes playing of special splendour here from the brass and strings, which reveal richer sonorities in the saturated textures and brilliant contrapuntal writing.” Chandos SACD 5181 @ £11 plus P&P

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