Holst: The Planets and Elgar: Enigma Variations

Holst: The Plantets

Elgar: Engima Variations

Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Andrew Litton

BIS 2068 @ £15 plus P&P 

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About the CD …. It is striking that two of the true classics in English orchestral music were composed within the short space of some fifteen years around the turn of the previous century. Edward Elgar’s Enigma Variations have charmed as well as fascinated listeners since the first performance in 1899. In 14 remarkably diverse variations Elgar demonstrates his compositional mastery while creating miniature portraits of his closest friends, as well as of his wife and himself. By turns gentle, idyllic, tempestuous and boisterous, the pieces which often run seamlessly into each other nevertheless make up a coherent whole, like a group portrait taken during a country weekend. In 1916 Gustav Holst completed another set of musical character sketches his suite The Planets, in seven movements. These have little to do with astronomy and even less with the Roman deities whose names they carry. Holst was rather inspired by astrology and the suite actually concerns human character as influenced by the planets. Performing the programme in the warm acoustics of Bergen’s Grieg Hall, the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra under Andrew Litton give it their all in this sonic spectacular.

Classic FM CD of the Week “Litton has taken the orchestra from strength to strength, both as music director from 2003 to 2015, and more recently as conductor laureate, and we’re thrilled to be playing this all week.” 

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