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Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

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Len Mullenger:

EDWARD ELGAR (1857-1934)
Bostock and the Münchner Symphoniker in rare ELGAR orchestral and vocal works - many world premiere recordings
The Crown of India March
Hail Immemorial Ind from The Crown of India *
The Wind at Dawn *
Empire March
A Voice in the Desert * **
Piano Concerto (slow movement) ***
The Spanish Lady suite
Civic Fanfare - Hereford.

Christine Østergaard (mezzo) * Peter Hall (Narrator) ** Margaret Fingerhut (piano) *** Münchner Symphoniker/Douglas Bostock
rec 19-20 April 2000, Bavaria Tonstudio, München
The British Symphonic Collection Vol. 7 CLASSICO CLASSCD334 [65.12]

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This is definitely the major release in Classico's really excellent British Symphonic Collection. Following hot on the heels of the equally delectable Arnold compilation, this volume sheds new light on some of Elgar's rare pieces whilst giving a good tub thumping to other largely forgotten favourites. The new arrangement of the original Crown of India Suite has us revel in two gloriously Imperialistic marches whilst the vocal items also take on a much more striking significance. Elgar's music from the First World War is also extremely moving as the desolate 'A Voice in the Desert' demonstrates. This piece is quite ravishingly sung by Mette Christina Ostergaard who understands the deep patriotic feeling of the Great war to absolute perfection. 'Polonia' is to my mind, one of the finest works Elgar ever wrote. The nail biting martial music mixes with spine tingling quotations from Polish National themes to reach a gloriously romantic and bombastic conclusion. This is also given a splendid reading by Bostock and his Munich players although they do not entirely dislodge Boult on EMI (now deleted) whose recording is quite scandalously unavailable. The short Spanish Lady Suite is refreshing Elgar in a lighter vein whilst the Civic Fanfare is also an interesting discovery albeit a mere triviality on musical terms. The disc receives one of Classico's best recordings to date and Douglas Bostock's painstaking preparation is definitely in evidence throughout as the Munich players play with true commitment and dedication. Lewis Foreman's notes are a model of clarity and a veritable minefield of information. No serious Elgarian should be without this disc.

Gerald Fenech



See also review by Rob Barnett

The British Symphonic Collection


Gerald Fenech



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