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Elgar, Vaughan Williams and British Composers

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    Posted: 02 Dec 2012 at 5:56pm
I'm starting this thread as a continuation of some posts on the Spatia Impressions thread about EMI recordings with Sir John Barbirolli . . . .

If anyone has any views about British composers and their music on record, this is the place to put 'em Wink
Bob

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote morris_minor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Dec 2012 at 6:34pm
Rod - I find that not only do I have the CD of the Kennedy/Handley Elgar violin, but also the LP (which I'd forgotten about - this was another inherited from my Dad). I'll have to see how the violin balance comes over on the LP . . .

I do also have another LP (just rediscovered!) with the Elgar Violin - again Handley on CFP, but this time with Hugh Bean as soloist. I remember Hugh Bean from him being the leader of the Guildford Philharmonic Orchestra when Handley was music director, and his VW Lark Ascending with Boult (c.w VW Symphony 6) has to be the most perfect performance of that little gem.

I can see I'm going to have an Elgar Violin session soon . . .Wink 

BTW I never really liked the Heifetz recording either! I bought the CD for it's coupling of the Walton concerto. (Don't get me started on Walton! Confused)


Edited by morris_minor - 02 Dec 2012 at 6:37pm
Bob

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote FreiheitZecher Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Dec 2012 at 10:42pm
Hi Bob, I just listened to the FLAC download via a LogMeIn and a VLC media player. Through my computer speakers (somewhat less than "true fidelity") it sounded very dynamic, but also on the bright side. I was going to copy this to a CD. Convenient, yes, but I want the LP jacket in my hands! I'm just an old, retired Latin teacher who has problems keeping pace with the digital "explosion".

My computer set up is in my study.  The music room is all analogue, the piano in the lounge.  I've had some concerns going into digital reproduction via cyberspace, but the Pristine Audio catalog tempts me, a big Toscanini fan. I do own CDs from the Barbirolli Society, and the BBC live concerts.

I've been criticized for my reverence for Sir John, one friend saying, "he wears too much his heart on his sleeve." I see that as a compliment. 

I just picked up a Hugh Bean/Sir Charles Groves/RLPO Elgar on EMI ASD 2883.  It needs a good cleaning via the VPI 16.5 before I play it.  I'll follow up on this. Don't get me started on the cello concerto!

Also I just picked up the EMI Apostles and The Kingdom. Those LPs await cleaning also. Do you have the Caractatus? I've never heard it.

Have you heard my favorite VW of all: The slow movement of the Symphony No. 2 ("London") on the earlier Barbirolli/Halle/Pye?

Generally, I find that, here in the US, both Elgar + VW are very underrated.  In my pantheon of composers, both are in the top ten. When I moonlighted (professionally) as an engineer at live performances, the only Elgar I recorded (analogue, of course) was the Enigma Vars.

My P&C Marches are with Sir Adrian on a set of LPs (very unusual set) marketed here as a "Festival of Light Classical Music'' available only in the US as a "Reader's Digest" box pressed by RCA in "Cyclophonic Sound" Nonsense. BUT, the recordings, all from London, Paris, Vienna and Rome were engineered by Kenneth Wilkinson and produced by Charles Gerhardt. Some of the beat sound ever on LP. Bass is seismic. I picked up two copies at flea markets for only $10.-  a set. Was this released in the UK?. This is turning into a ramble, so I'll stop now. Best wishes, Rod
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote morris_minor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Dec 2012 at 11:44am
Hi Rod,

I know what you mean about holding the LP sleeve in your hands! CDs never really did it for me, which is one reason all mine are ripped to a server.

You always know that with Barbirolli you're going to get a performance from the heart! I have to say I'm more of a Boult fan. Much more a typical "straight-laced" Brit than Barbirolli's Italian temperament, though I'm reminded of a quote from an orchestral player who said that to an audience Boult's conducting was a study in restraint - straight back, minimal movement aside from the long stick, but from the orchestra's viewpoint he was practically foaming at the mouth with passion.

I have quite a few VW London's - Boult (EMI), Handley (LPO and RLPO), Haitink, Hickox and Baribrolli's 1968 EMI/Hallé  - but not the version on Pye. . . .

And the only Elgar oratorio I have is Gerontius - Britten conducting on LP, Handley on CD. I did actually sing in this under Tod Handley when he was music director in Guildford - great experience!

And no, I hadn't seen that Readers Digest set: they'd seem to be Decca recordings. Two sets for $10 Big smile. I always rather looked down on Readers Digest LPs at the time (to my shame Embarrassed), but there were some undoubtedly good releases. It's interesting now that the "budget label"/full-price divide has largely disappeared as far as secondhand prices go - I've seen some Saga and Classics for Pleasure LPs advertised at premium prices. (Did Classics for Pleasure make it to the US? It was EMIs budget label . .)

Enjoy the Hugh Bean/Charlie Groves Elgar - I'll be spinning Hugh Bean's Handley recording soon, and I'll let you know about the balance on the Kennedy/Handley LP vs CD . . 
Bob

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote morris_minor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Dec 2012 at 2:15pm
Originally posted by morris_minor morris_minor wrote:

Enjoy the Hugh Bean/Charlie Groves Elgar - I'll be spinning Hugh Bean's Handley recording soon, and I'll let you know about the balance on the Kennedy/Handley LP vs CD . . 
Must be going a bit senile . .Confused Hugh Bean's only recorded the Elgar Violin once - with Groves/RLPO, not Handley. I was getting confused with the LP cover designs . . 

Anyhow, now listening to Hugh Bean, before moving to the LP of Kennedy with Handley.
Bob

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote morris_minor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Dec 2012 at 4:52pm
Originally posted by FreiheitZecher FreiheitZecher wrote:

The Kennedy/Handley is very naturally recorded, but I sometimes feel the mike placement is too distant. Despite this, Kennedy's  beautifully responsive playing of the slow movement leaves me at a loss for words. I have this on a CD. Could the early digital LP be superior?
The answer, Rod, is that for me the LP and CD are virtually indistinguishable. Though the LP, albeit very free of ticks and and pops, does have a repetitive low level thud for a while which is a pity. But in terms of balance, musical tone, dynamics etc there's nothing much to choose between them. I did fancy the "CD" (my rip to FLAC) had a bit more weight in orchestral tuttis in places.

It's certainly a great performance, but then I liked the Hugh Bean/Charles Groves version - not played for decades! Mine is a Classics for Pleasure reissue of ASD 2883, but sounds none the worse for that. Impeccable surfaces, too. This is definitely up for a few more listens soon.  Smile

Rod - how are you with less well-known British composers? eg. Bax, Finzi, Bliss, Holst (though everyman and his dog knows The Planets! but not much else), and a particular favourite of mine Walton . . .

Bob

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote slinger Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Feb 2014 at 1:37pm
One of the fun parts about joining a new forum is going back through the old posts and exhuming stuff that's been long buried.  I found this thread and thought I'd contribute as I'm a lover of English classical music.
I'd like to recommend this set http://www.amazon.co.uk/British-Symphonic-Collection-Edward-Elgar/dp/B004VRXEXI which for less than 12 quid consists of 10 CDs featuring 10 British composers.  I'm betting some people didn't even know there were 10 English composers LOL

Perhaps not the greatest recordings in the world but for the price it'll introduce you to some wonderful misc you might never otherwise discover.


Paul
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