Edward ELGAR (1857-1934)
Variations on an original theme (Enigma), Op.36 [30.56]
Cockaigne (In London Town), Op.40 [15.07]
Froissart, Op.19 [14.23]
Pomp and Circumstance Marches Nos. 1-5, Op.39 [27.46]*
English Symphony Orchestra/William Boughton
rec. Great Hall, Birmingham University, 28-30 July 1989 and 18-19 June 1988*
NIMBUS NI 9001 DVD-Audio [88.30]
This disc contains a complete transfer of Nimbus NI 5206 and the complete Pomp and circumstance marches from Nimbus NI 7088, both discs that I have reviewed for this site recently. I will not repeat my comments about the performances there other than to observe that while the Enigma Variations are given a marvellously characterful performance I found the Pomp and circumstance readings to be undesirably brisk.
The main interest of the issue however centres around the surround-sound recording which is issued here on an audio DVD – hence the extended playing time. The original recordings were made in the very resonant acoustic of the Great Hall at Birmingham University, and it could be objected that the resulting sound was rather over-reverberant. Placed in the middle of the hall, the reverberation remains but becomes less obtrusive. The effect is highly realistic and this issue will appeal strongly to those who would want to experience the sensation of a live performance with a real sense of place.
Paul Corfield Godfrey
Will appeal strongly to those who would want to experience the sensation of a live performance with a real sense of place.