Yes that's right: the Bach is from an analogue recording
from 1995. It is part of a complete set issued on both vinyl and 'silver'.
The vividly commanding recording was made on analogue 3M tape to satisfy
the lust of high end enthusiasts and collectors.
I sought out this disc because I am lost in admiration
for Ms Haendel's playing of the Sibelius, Delius, Walton and Britten.
Also I have warm memories of her Szymanowski - in the first concerto,
I think. The Elgar is one of my 'desert island' works and I had to hear
Haendel's version especially in a recording resplendently set down by
Christopher Bishop and Christopher Parker.
For years I swore by the CBS LP of the Elgar with Zukerman
(LPO/Barenboim). The Elgar/Menuhin, revered in almost all quarters,
always seemed staid and ... well, dull, and the Boult/Menuhin similarly.
Excellent recordings exist from Sammons, Hugh Bean (when will that CFP
LP be issued on CD - it is sorely missed), Accardo and even (and be
warned this is another of my eccentric choices!) the David Oistrakh
Melodiya version on Olympia. Best of all though is the version with
Heifetz and the Sargent. I am no great lover of Heifetz's steely perfection
but in this case and with hoarsely emotional support from Sargent and
the LSO there is nothing to touch it - now easily and economically obtainable
on Naxos. I am afraid that the Heifetz/Sargent recommendation remains
my top choice. While Haendel's dreamily matchless silver tone is there
to behold the pulse is predominantly slow and reflection drifts towards
maudlin shoals. I expected the finale to shake off this mood but it
was only emphasised. I wonder if the then very elderly Boult was the
reason for this unsatisfactory mood and tone. This is not without strengths
and things do catch fire but the flame gutters and chokes far too easily.
Recommendable to those wanting to document the latest
Boult way with Elgar and to hear Haendel's lovely tone. The latter is
the reason I will return to this disc. Sadly it cannot be a first or
even top six choice. It just does not gel and lacks coherent conviction.