Elgar: Symphonies No 1 & 2 / Adrian Boult, London Po

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Though made less than a decade before his last studio versions for EMI (regarded by many collectors as classics), these 1968 Elgar Symphony recordings for Lyrita reveal a younger and more energized Adrian Boult--especially so in Symphony No. 2, where the earlier recording's swagger and bite would be mellowed by a greater refinement and nuance (Boult's scrupulous attention to the subtle timbres of Elgar's orchestration at times make the music sound almost Debussyian).

Symphony No. 1 clearly was Boult's less favored of the two, and his EMI recording suffered from a degree of stiffness (especially compared to Barbirolli). But the Lyrita version has a raw, edgy quality--with swifter tempos and snappier rhythms--that's most welcome. The London Philharmonic sounds slightly less polished in 1968 than in 1976, but the playing is still excellent. Some collectors may find Lyrita's close and clear recorded sound preferable to EMI's plushy resonance (though the latter has greater dynamic range). As it stands, this Lyrita set, priced at 2-for-1, is an essential acquisition for Elgarians (and Boulters).

--Victor Carr Jr, ClassicsToday.com

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: SRCD221

  • UPC: 5020926022127

  • Label: Lyrita

  • Composer: Sir Edward Elgar

  • Conductor: Sir Adrian Boult

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: London Philharmonic Orchestra