Author Topic: Elgar's Hillside  (Read 289097 times)

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Offline kyjo

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Re: Elgar's Hillside
« Reply #3320 on: May 25, 2020, 07:24:23 PM »
With the proviso that we all tend to hear things differently, I suggest giving Sinopoli a try. I think it quite dark, slow and brooding.

Sarge

Thanks, Sarge. Hopefully the fact that it's relatively slow doesn't mean it lacks momentum, though!
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Offline Biffo

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Re: Elgar's Hillside
« Reply #3321 on: May 26, 2020, 12:06:47 AM »
You may or may not like Barbirolli's approach, but he was certainly immersed in this music. When I listen to his performance I get the feeling that he is truly inside the music, and he understands how every phrase and voice contributes to the whole.

I have the issue with the second cover you have linked (the individual disc) and I am pretty sure it is the same recording as the 2CD set. It is a 1962 recording.

I find myself exasperated because I have always listened to the 1962 and 1964 Barbirolli/Elgar Symphonies but I could swear I had managed to collect his earlier recordings. I think both Elgar symphonies were recorded by Barbirolli/Hale in the mid 1950's, but I can't find the discs, nor can I track down the releases of both symphonies.

Anyway, this is one to look out for, the 1954 recording of No 2. I can't find any release of a 1950's recording of No 1 with Barbirolli.



The more familiar 1964 recording of the second symphony looks like this:



According to discography I have (an Appendix to Life with Glorious John by Evelyn Barbirolli) Barbirolli recorded No 2 in June 1954 - I bought it as a lossless download from Pristine Classical. He recorded  No 1 in December 1956; it is part of the The Barbirolli Elgar Album (Dutton CDJSB 1017).

The EMI stereo versions are from 1962 and 1964; agree they desperately need remastering.

There is also a live performance of No 1 with the Halle, recorded on July 24 1970, just before his death (BBC Legends)




Ratliff

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Re: Elgar's Hillside
« Reply #3322 on: May 26, 2020, 04:37:59 AM »
According to discography I have (an Appendix to Life with Glorious John by Evelyn Barbirolli) Barbirolli recorded No 2 in June 1954 - I bought it as a lossless download from Pristine Classical. He recorded  No 1 in December 1956; it is part of the The Barbirolli Elgar Album (Dutton CDJSB 1017).

The EMI stereo versions are from 1962 and 1964; agree they desperately need remastering.

Do you have an opinion on whether the older recordings are sufficiently distinct from the later EMI recordings that they demand to be heard?

There is also a live performance of No 1 with the Halle, recorded on July 24 1970, just before his death (BBC Legends)

Thanks for that. Time I spent looking at on-line discographies and CD listings didn't turn up the recording of No 1. I guess that was a Pye recording.

Anyway, that brings me to my irritation that EMI, now Warner, never make a comprehensive Barbirolli box. I would be their first customer, particularly if some of the recordings not remastered since the early days could get some attention.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2020, 04:50:56 AM by Baron Scarpia »

Offline Biffo

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Re: Elgar's Hillside
« Reply #3323 on: May 26, 2020, 05:56:18 AM »
Thanks for that. Time I spent looking at on-line discographies and CD listings didn't turn up the recording of No 1. I guess that was a Pye recording.

Anyway, that brings me to my irritation that EMI, now Warner, never make a comprehensive Barbirolli box. I would be their first customer, particularly if some of the recordings not remastered since the early days could get some attention.

It was a Pye Golden Guinea release (GSGC 14052). It was recorded in 1956 but for some reason not released until 1966. It is now in a Barbirolli Society album as detailed above.

I wouldn't be interested in a Big Barbirolli Box, there would be far too much duplication. I would like newly remastered version so Elgar 1 & 2 and RVW 2 & 5.

Offline 71 dB

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Re: Elgar's Hillside
« Reply #3324 on: May 26, 2020, 08:09:34 AM »
I have the Symphonies conducted by Barbirolli in the 30 CD EMI boxset and the liner notes say Symphony 1 was recorded (first released?) in 1963 and Symphony 2 in 1964. Both are digitally remastered in 1993.

I haven't listened to these performaces recently, but I remember the sound quality to be rather bad and I think I prefer Boult over Barbirolli in Elgar and the Boult performances I have are from the late 70's and have better sound (still not perfect for a digital age child like me).
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Ratliff

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Re: Elgar's Hillside
« Reply #3325 on: May 26, 2020, 09:19:56 AM »
I have the Symphonies conducted by Barbirolli in the 30 CD EMI boxset and the liner notes say Symphony 1 was recorded (first released?) in 1963 and Symphony 2 in 1964. Both are digitally remastered in 1993.

I haven't listened to these performaces recently, but I remember the sound quality to be rather bad and I think I prefer Boult over Barbirolli in Elgar and the Boult performances I have are from the late 70's and have better sound (still not perfect for a digital age child like me).

Recorded August 28 and 19, 1962 and April 20 and 21, 1964, both in Kingsway Hall.

I find that EMI recordings from the 60's made in Kingsway Hall can be splendid when correctly remastered. Regrettably those CDs were remastered at a time when there was a tendency to make them sound brighter than they did on LP, which was supposed to make them more "digitalish." Nevertheless, I generally find Barbirolli's recordings to be sufficiently special to merit suffering non-ideal audio.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Elgar's Hillside
« Reply #3326 on: May 26, 2020, 09:45:42 AM »
Thanks, Sarge. Hopefully the fact that it's relatively slow doesn't mean it lacks momentum, though!

I personally couldn’t get into Sinopoli’s Elgar. Sinopoli was a very good conductor, but not everything he recorded was worth hearing or, in this case, hearing again, and, sadly for me, his Elgar is no exception. The Sarge tends to favor slower tempi and that’s fine because that’s his preference, but I’m more straddling on the line of sometimes enjoying faster tempi and sometimes enjoying slower tempi. It’s all a matter of how convincing the performance is. My problem with really slow tempi is it does rob the music of momentum and forward motion whereas a bit swifter tempo can create a more impactful ‘punch’ if you will. Again, we all have our preferences and let your own ears be the judge. I do still strongly suggest that Andrew Davis 2nd with The Philharmonia. I think you’ll enjoy it.
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Offline vers la flamme

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Re: Elgar's Hillside
« Reply #3327 on: May 26, 2020, 11:43:34 AM »
I ended up ordering the Sinopoli Elgar 1 & 2 w/ the original covers for pretty cheap.





Excited to spend more time with the music. I really liked what I heard. A very lush approach that I can only describe as "floral". Definitely sounds a lot better than the Barenboim/LPO that I have.

Oddly, Barbirolli didn't do it for me when I listened earlier. I do love his Mahler and his Elgar Sea Pictures with Janet Baker. Maybe I'll come back to it in time. I am really not much of an Elgar guy but I suspect there is something there in his music that is worth my time and repeated listening efforts.

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Re: Elgar's Hillside
« Reply #3328 on: May 26, 2020, 12:02:48 PM »
Tempting me with that Sinopoli again. :)

I have to keep reminding myself how many unheard Elgar Symphony recordings I have. I just remembered I have Slatkin and Zinman/Baltimore as well.

Offline kyjo

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Re: Elgar's Hillside
« Reply #3329 on: May 26, 2020, 03:55:34 PM »
I personally couldn’t get into Sinopoli’s Elgar. Sinopoli was a very good conductor, but not everything he recorded was worth hearing or, in this case, hearing again, and, sadly for me, his Elgar is no exception. The Sarge tends to favor slower tempi and that’s fine because that’s his preference, but I’m more straddling on the line of sometimes enjoying faster tempi and sometimes enjoying slower tempi. It’s all a matter of how convincing the performance is. My problem with really slow tempi is it does rob the music of momentum and forward motion whereas a bit swifter tempo can create a more impactful ‘punch’ if you will. Again, we all have our preferences and let your own ears be the judge. I do still strongly suggest that Andrew Davis 2nd with The Philharmonia. I think you’ll enjoy it.

Yeah, a quick glance at the timings of the Sinopoli recording was a bit of a turnoff for me. Such an expansive work as Elgar’s 2nd needs a relatively taut approach in order not to “sprawl“, imo. Although, of course, timings aren’t everything!
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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Elgar's Hillside
« Reply #3330 on: May 26, 2020, 05:24:45 PM »
Yeah, a quick glance at the timings of the Sinopoli recording was a bit of a turnoff for me. Such an expansive work as Elgar’s 2nd needs a relatively taut approach in order not to “sprawl“, imo. Although, of course, timings aren’t everything!

I do enjoy the Sinopoli; I don't feel that he "dawdles" at all.
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Elgar's Hillside
« Reply #3331 on: May 26, 2020, 06:29:32 PM »
Yeah, a quick glance at the timings of the Sinopoli recording was a bit of a turnoff for me. Such an expansive work as Elgar’s 2nd needs a relatively taut approach in order not to “sprawl“, imo. Although, of course, timings aren’t everything!

Indeed. Let me know what you think of the Andrew Davis/Philharmonia performance whenever you get the chance.
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Offline Biffo

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Re: Elgar's Hillside
« Reply #3332 on: May 27, 2020, 12:25:34 AM »
Recorded August 28 and 19, 1962 and April 20 and 21, 1964, both in Kingsway Hall.

I find that EMI recordings from the 60's made in Kingsway Hall can be splendid when correctly remastered. Regrettably those CDs were remastered at a time when there was a tendency to make them sound brighter than they did on LP, which was supposed to make them more "digitalish." Nevertheless, I generally find Barbirolli's recordings to be sufficiently special to merit suffering non-ideal audio.


+1 for that. I actually prefer Barbirolli's earlier recording of No 2 as a performance - no problem with the sound for me.

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Elgar's Hillside
« Reply #3333 on: May 27, 2020, 12:54:32 AM »
I do enjoy the Sinopoli; I don't feel that he "dawdles" at all.

+1

Offline 71 dB

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Re: Elgar's Hillside
« Reply #3334 on: May 27, 2020, 02:20:44 AM »
Since Sinopoli creates such a spicy discussion here:

Sinopoli's name gives me assosiations of onion, because in Finnish language onion is "sipuli", one of the only words in our strange language that come form Latin ("cepa" for union). In Italian we have "cipólla" and in Spanish "cebolla" which is no wonder as these languages are close to Latin, but somehow the word travelled to Baltia and Finland: "cebula" in Polish, "sibul" in Estonian and "sipuli" in Finnish.

I have Elgar's 2nd Symphony by Sinopoli and someday I might revisit it, but currently I'm "busy" with Atterberg...  :P
« Last Edit: May 28, 2020, 08:57:04 AM by 71 dB »
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Offline JohnP

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Re: Elgar's Hillside
« Reply #3335 on: May 28, 2020, 05:33:16 AM »
I recommend James Hamilton-Paterson’s wonderfully entertaining Gerontius, a fictional account of Elgar’s 1923 journey along the River Amazon.

In it he writes something very interesting about the popular image of Elgar.

“‘I can tell you - it’s like dining with a time- bomb,’ she said. ‘It’s up to you to guess when it’s due to go off.’

‘He is a genius,’ said her friend emolliently.

‘A bloody rude one.’

.....’What I meant Kate dear, is that I recognised his presence at once. He never said much at all during those rehearsals- he just sort of smouldered and now and again clapped a hand to his brow when someone did something silly. Actually I rather think he once turned his back in the lot of us when we missed an entry and various people had to trot up to pacify him and turn him around.

‘That part at least sounds like our passenger,’ Kate said.

‘But that isn’t the part I mean. When the actual performance was going well and we all had that feeling, you know? - as if nobody can put a foot wrong? - he was extraordinary. That little figure on the podium in the distance looked apart in some way but at the same time we realised he was controlling the lot of us. We were all completely in his service and for as long as we could give ourselves up to his spirit or his musical vision or whatever it was the whole thing became absolutely magnetic. By the end we all felt exalted, too. Personally I never slept a wink that night. And from then until the other day I never clapped eyes on him. Yet when we were introduced it was that odd quality which hit me at once and even after so long I remembered it. I can’t explain it better than that.’

‘I’ll allow he has a certain something about him,’ admitted Kate, ‘but in all honesty I do t know whether that isn’t just because I know who he is. One’s unfairly disposed to detect all sorts of qualities in the famous simply because they’re famous, while all they might actually have done was invent a mutton extract for a South Polar expedition.’

‘Exactly,’ said an Acquaintance. ‘Or dissolve a wife or two in a bath of acid.’

‘One thing you can say about him him - he looks like nobody’s idea of a composer.’

‘I suppose not,’ said Fora. ‘But I’m not sure how a composer should look. That Beethovenesque romantic hero - you know, tousled hair, wind-tattered cloak, shaking his fist at lightening and generally living in squalor - that would frankly look pretty silly in Nineteen twenty-three, wouldn’t it?’

‘Granted. But even so you don’t expect him to look like a retired general full of equine anecdotes about linseed oil and skimmed milk and ante-post betting.’

Dora said: ‘I still don’t think there’s any point in applying ordinary standards of behaviour to completely extraordinary people. Look at all that music he’s given the world which they’ll still be playing long after we’re forgotten. You can teach even quite stupid children to say please and thank- you and hold doors open for ladies and generally ape being a good little social animal, but who can you train to write The Dream of Gerontius or even Land of Hope and Glory?’

‘I still think it hurts nobody to be moderately polite.’

‘Dora’s got a point,’ said another Acquaintance who had so far not spoken. ‘Surely a genius is someone whose gift is so commanding, so overwhelming that there’s no space or energy left over for bothering with niceties. Most of the geniuses one can think of were pretty odd in one way or another. You’d have said the y were half crazy if they hadn’t been writing or painting or composing works which were obviously of greater importance than the unconventional private life of the man who created them.’
« Last Edit: May 28, 2020, 06:25:22 AM by JohnP »

Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: Elgar's Hillside
« Reply #3336 on: May 28, 2020, 08:38:14 AM »

Sinopoli's name gives me assosiations of union, because in Finnish language union is "sipuli", one of the only words in our strange language that come form Latin ("cepa" for union). In Italian we have "cipólla" and in Spanish "cebolla" which is no wonder as these languages are close to Latin, but somehow the word travelled to Baltia and Finland: "cebula" in Polish, "sibul" in Estonian and "sipuli" in Finnish.

You mean onion, not union!

I recommend James Hamilton-Paterson’s wonderfully entertaining Gerontius, a fictional account of Elgar’s 1923 journey along the River Amazon.

I'm aware of that book, but I haven't read it. Thanks for the excerpt.
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Offline 71 dB

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Re: Elgar's Hillside
« Reply #3337 on: May 28, 2020, 08:56:24 AM »
You mean onion, not union!

Yes, Onion. Thanks!
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Elgar's Hillside
« Reply #3338 on: December 19, 2020, 07:52:22 PM »
I have the Symphonies conducted by Barbirolli in the 30 CD EMI boxset and the liner notes say Symphony 1 was recorded (first released?) in 1963 and Symphony 2 in 1964. Both are digitally remastered in 1993.

I haven't listened to these performaces recently, but I remember the sound quality to be rather bad and I think I prefer Boult over Barbirolli in Elgar and the Boult performances I have are from the late 70's and have better sound (still not perfect for a digital age child like me).

Ah, but if Barbirolli’s Sospiri doesn’t melt your face, I don’t know what will! By the way, I have no problems with the fidelity of Barbirolli’s later Elgar recordings. There’s a certain spirit about these performances that I think sounds right to my ears. FWIW, I do love Boult in Elgar, too. I have no preference for one over the other. There are more ways to interpret Elgar.
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Offline Irons

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Re: Elgar's Hillside
« Reply #3339 on: December 20, 2020, 01:14:48 AM »
The one recording of Elgar that Barbirolli stands supreme is Falstaff.
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