Author Topic: Elgar's Hillside  (Read 87349 times)

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Kullervo

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Re: Elgar's Hillside
« Reply #20 on: September 20, 2007, 03:10:20 PM »
I haven't heard that one, but on the same label there is this two-disc set which I can recommend, it provides excellent recordings of his three major chamber works, and as (a rather large :P) bonus, a nice one of the violin concerto. The performances are pretty much the usual from British forces playing British music - unflashy and undisappointing. The music does the talking.

Thanks!

Offline Bonehelm

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Re: Elgar's Hillside
« Reply #21 on: September 20, 2007, 04:01:40 PM »
I never knew Elgar wrote such moving/touching melody...in his 1st symphony's 1st movtment's beginning...

Mark

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Re: Elgar's Hillside
« Reply #22 on: September 20, 2007, 04:05:16 PM »
I never knew Elgar wrote such moving/touching melody...in his 1st symphony's 1st movtment's beginning...

To say nothing of the work's gorgeous third movement. :)

Offline JoshLilly

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Re: Elgar's Hillside
« Reply #23 on: September 20, 2007, 05:01:05 PM »
The Pomp and Circumstance #1 may be overplayed, but I still think that the middle part is one of the greatest melodies in the entire history of music. "Serious" music folks seem to enjoy trashing it, but I just love it.

Offline 71 dB

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Re: Elgar's Hillside
« Reply #24 on: September 21, 2007, 02:09:52 AM »
The Pomp and Circumstance #1 may be overplayed, but I still think that the middle part is one of the greatest melodies in the entire history of music. "Serious" music folks seem to enjoy trashing it, but I just love it.

Yes, it's overplayed. When Elgar invented the trio melody he said "A tune like that comes once in a lifetime." The fact is Elgar wrote brilliant marches and people trash them because they were composed by Elgar, a massively misunderstood* composer.

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* Bonehelm just said above he never knew Elgar wrote such moving/touching melody...in his 1st symphony's 1st movtment's beginning...
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Elgar's Hillside
« Reply #25 on: September 21, 2007, 02:33:55 AM »
I love Sospiri ever since hearing a recording by the Academy of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields under (who else) Neville Marriner. It was an Argo disc (yes, gramophone...), IIRC. And there's an organ, too, I think (ad lib.)

Yes, it's VERY beautiful. I have a number of recordings. My introduction was an excellent Barbirolli recording (with Symphony 2 on EMI British Composers). They used it, in a very moving way as music accompanying an excellent radio addaption of Len Deigton's "Bomber" on BBC Radio 4.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline J. Z. Herrenberg

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Re: Elgar's Hillside
« Reply #26 on: September 21, 2007, 02:45:17 AM »
Talking about Symphony 2 - is anyone else of the opinion that the Larghetto and Rondo movements really are among the 'Best of British'?
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Mark

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Re: Elgar's Hillside
« Reply #27 on: September 21, 2007, 03:09:35 AM »
Talking about Symphony 2 - is anyone else of the opinion that the Larghetto and Rondo movements really are among the 'Best of British'?

I know that Poju is a BIG fan of the Second Symphony, but try as I might, I can't connect with it. The First speaks more to me ... and even the Third (with the assistance of Anthony Payne) is more to my taste. The Second Symphony is an example of Elgar that I don't like. Another would be some of the music from the Wand of Youth Suites.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Elgar's Hillside
« Reply #28 on: September 21, 2007, 03:16:00 AM »
Talking about Symphony 2 - is anyone else of the opinion that the Larghetto and Rondo movements really are among the 'Best of British'?

Yes
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Offline J. Z. Herrenberg

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Re: Elgar's Hillside
« Reply #29 on: September 21, 2007, 03:21:04 AM »
I know that Poju is a BIG fan of the Second Symphony, but try as I might, I can't connect with it. The First speaks more to me ... and even the Third (with the assistance of Anthony Payne) is more to my taste. The Second Symphony is an example of Elgar that I don't like. Another would be some of the music from the Wand of Youth Suites.

Interesting, Mark. I know the experience - I 'suffer' from it with the Sibelius Sixth and the Vaughan Williams Fifth. Both are composers I really love, but these two works, for whatever reason, don't speak to me. As far as Elgar's Second is concerned - I am very moved by the tragic undercurrents in this work. The motto from the work is derived from Shelley (IIRC), 'Rarely comest thou, spirit of Delight'. The melancholy that you feel in this work really moves me deeply. But it takes a good conductor to bring it off. It's with Elgar, I have noticed, as with Delius - an indifferent performance really kills the work, so that you get the feeling nothing much of importance happens. Whereas a good performance gives you the feeling of listening to some of the best music ever.

Perhaps this goes for all music. But Elgar and Delius seem to require a real spiritual affinity in the conductor. (And Brian, another favourite of mine, demands the same thing, btw)
"O infinite virtue, com’st thou smiling from
The world’s great snare uncaught?"

(Antony and Cleopatra, Act 4, Scene 8 )

Mark

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Re: Elgar's Hillside
« Reply #30 on: September 21, 2007, 03:28:54 AM »
I totally agree about Elgar and Delius needing sensitive, attuned interpreters - the latter even more so than the former. I've found Delius quite the turn-off before now; undoubtedly, its performers are to blame.

But as to you finding the Sibelius Sixth doesn't speak to you, I'm shocked. Genuinely. I think it's among his very best works, and one with which I connected immediately.

Offline J. Z. Herrenberg

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Re: Elgar's Hillside
« Reply #31 on: September 21, 2007, 03:42:32 AM »
Strange, isn't it, how people can differ in their response?

I think what I find difficult in Sibelius's Sixth is that I'm missing something - when the work starts there seems to me to be a lack of scale, I miss the sense that there is a vast world to be explored, a feeling I have in the Fourth, Fifth and Seventh (one of my absolute favourites), and also in Tapiola. It's this, I think, that has so far hindered me in my appreciation.

But, just to make clear that I'd rather love a work than leave it, I'll listen to it again (not now, but during the weekend).
"O infinite virtue, com’st thou smiling from
The world’s great snare uncaught?"

(Antony and Cleopatra, Act 4, Scene 8 )

Mark

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Re: Elgar's Hillside
« Reply #32 on: September 21, 2007, 03:44:38 AM »
But, just to make clear that I'd rather love a work than leave it, I'll listen to it again (not now, but during the weekend).

Fair enough. I'll spin Elgar's Second Symphony once more and report back. ;)

karlhenning

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Sibelius Adjunct to Elgar's Hillside
« Reply #33 on: September 21, 2007, 04:16:40 AM »
Strange, isn't it, how people can differ in their response?

I think what I find difficult in Sibelius's Sixth is that I'm missing something - when the work starts there seems to me to be a lack of scale, I miss the sense that there is a vast world to be explored . . . .

This is maybe a case of 'we agree on the facts, but differ as to their significance' :-)

This for me is part of the charm and attraction of the Sixth, this tenderness and intimacy of tone, partly signalled by those two additions to the scoring which are unusual for Sibelius's symphonies, the bass clarinet and the harp.

Harry Collier

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Re: Elgar's Hillside
« Reply #34 on: September 21, 2007, 04:20:57 AM »
I, too, love the second symphony. Very mixed-up and contorted, but some of Elgar's best music. Of the lesser known works, I quite go along with Sospiri (especially Barbirolli's gorgeous heart-on-sleeve performance on a disc of British music for string orchestra that includes Introduction & Allegro, Serenade for Strings, Vaughan Williams "Tallis" and "Greensleeves" -- a real desert island disc).

The piano quintet I find extremely likeable. There is also an attractive CD with William Boulton playing Elgar's violin & piano music, including many of his ephemeral salon pieces. Marat Bisengaliev also has a CD of the violin & piano pieces. The first part of Dream of Gerontius I love very much, but always grow slightly impatient with Part II. A pity Elgar didn't just end with Gerontius's death!

Offline J. Z. Herrenberg

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Re: Elgar's Hillside
« Reply #35 on: September 21, 2007, 04:25:36 AM »
"This for me is part of the charm and attraction of the Sixth, this tenderness and intimacy of tone"

As I have nothing against 'tenderness and intimacy' in music, I'm really looking forward now to hearing how they sound in the Sibelian universe. Who knows - perhaps I'll 'get' it (the Sixth) for the first time...

Johan
"O infinite virtue, com’st thou smiling from
The world’s great snare uncaught?"

(Antony and Cleopatra, Act 4, Scene 8 )

Offline 71 dB

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Re: Elgar's Hillside
« Reply #36 on: September 21, 2007, 05:41:06 AM »
Talking about Symphony 2 - is anyone else of the opinion that the Larghetto and Rondo movements really are among the 'Best of British'?

No. 2 is Elgar's finest symphony and among the finest of all his works. I find Larghetto and Finale absolutely mindblowing. Of all versions I have heard Downes on Naxos brings up the sophistication of this work best. 
Spatial distortion is a serious problem deteriorating headphone listening. Crossfeeders reduce spatial distortion and make the sound more natural and less tiresome in headphone listening.

Larry Rinkel

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Re: Elgar's Hillside
« Reply #37 on: September 21, 2007, 05:42:32 AM »
Talking about Symphony 2 - is anyone else of the opinion that the Larghetto and Rondo movements really are among the 'Best of British'?

Not I.

Larry Rinkel

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Re: Elgar's Hillside
« Reply #38 on: September 21, 2007, 05:44:12 AM »
I never knew Elgar wrote such moving/touching melody...in his 1st symphony's 1st movtment's beginning...

That is certainly a volta face...   :D

Hector

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Re: Elgar's Hillside
« Reply #39 on: September 21, 2007, 06:17:48 AM »
Talking about Symphony 2 - is anyone else of the opinion that the Larghetto and Rondo movements really are among the 'Best of British'?

No, the whole symphony is. Subtle beyond the understanding of many (and they will be on here before long trashing it and everything else) it is, often, seen as an elegy for a lost era, the Edwardian, in that it evokes nostalgia but the work ends with this dynamic last movement that actually points towards the future which makes one reassess one's initial feelings to the rest of the symphony.

Elgar's orchestration is very lucid, something that the great British conductors and orchestra understood almost instinctively and still do. Try Lyrita's double of the two symphonies under Boult. There are no better.

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