Elgar: Falstaff, Elegy, The Sanguine Fan / Lloyd-jones

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Edward Elgar's name may be practically synonymous with musical Englishness, but his symphonic study 'Falstaff' shows that he was paying close attention to his continental contemporaries, especially Richard Strauss. The program of 'Falstaff,' drawing episodes from Shakespeare's 'Henry IV' and 'Henry V,' is like those of Strauss' own narrative tone poems in its depiction of minute detail--'Don Quixote' is the obvious comparison, as another musical portrayal of a knightly fool. But the differences are just as striking: unlike Strauss' often voluptuous, sensuous orchestration and harmony, Elgar is more restrained, and more compassionate toward his subject, setting a predominantly nostalgic tone. Falstaff is less a figure of humor here than a sentimental symbol of Olde England.
The English Northern Philharmonia under David Lloyd-Jones navigates Elgar's score with a great sense of style and narrative impulse. The big picture comes through musically even without knowing the program in detail; especially magical is the descent into dreamworld as Falstaff falls asleep, and Falstaff's death is a genuinely touching moment. Filling out the disc are the similarly nostalgia-tinged 'Sanguine Fan' ballet, and the 'Elegy for Strings,' its four and a half minutes seeming remarkably like one single, melancholy breath.

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: 8553879

  • UPC: 730099487924

  • Label: Naxos

  • Composer: Sir Edward Elgar

  • Conductor: David Lloyd-Jones

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: English Northern Philharmonia