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Cello Cto: Variations - Pomp & Circumstance 1 & 4 Original recording remastered

4.8 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Composer: EDWARD ELGAR, DANIEL BARENBOIM, PHILADELPHIA ORCH
  • Audio CD (October 18, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B000BDGWF8
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,782 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Why has one piece of music here, the Elgar Cello Concerto played by Jacqueline DuPre become so legendary?
Of course it is the music itself. It has an overpowerful haunting deeply hypnotic feeling. Elgar wrote it after his recovery from a serious illness towards the end of the First War, and his thoughts were certainly on the suffering of life, and the inevitability of death.
DuPre brings to the piece not only her great mastery as cellist, but some deeper element of feeling. There is in the playing a sense of romantic abandoment of wild disturbance , and of intense and even ferious concentration. She seems to be Orpheus- like overtaken by the music and it seems to be playing through her whole body. It is almost as if too in the playing there is a sense of the illness which will later come to her, and which ironically, paradoxically painfully will deprive her of the feeling in her fingers and hands.
She seems swept up by the music and yet all the while moving it to deeper and deeper levels of sorrow, pain and beauty.
Music like this comes from the angels only.
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Format: Audio CD
This is a wonderfully passionate recording of the concerto that has rightfully become as closely associated with Jacqueline Dupre as with the composer himself. I don't want to go into detail - just listen and drink it all in. I was lucky enough to hear Jacqueline play this piece live (in Manchester with the Halle in 1970), and this recording is every bit as moving.

But, truth be told, my main reason for buying the CD was the Enigma Variations. On reading the score I discovered an ad lib organ part that fortifies the texture of the orchestra for a substantial part of the final variation. The recording I had (Andre Previn with the Royal Philharmonic) ad libbed it out. I tried to research which recordings had the organ ad libbed in, but couldn't find any indication anywhere on the Web. But, I thought, I have a recording of Barenboim with the London Phil playing Elgar's Cockaigne, and he certainly uses an organ in that recording, therefore...... and thus I discovered this wonderful CD.

The Enigma Variations is given a very fine performance, more satisfying in several ways than in the Previn recording, not least because the brass is a little more prominent and bright (full disclosure: I'm a trumpet player). Oh, and the timpani in the Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage quote are played - as tradition demands - with coins, not with the snare-drum sticks Elgar requests in the score. The result is a very very effective evocation of ships' engines.

I'm giving this recording 5 stars because of the Enigma and the Cello Concerto. The CD also features the two most well-known of the Pomp and Circumstance marches. No. 4 is perfectly fine, but Barenboim gives No. 1 a very strange interpretation. He takes the march part at about a million miles per hour, and it sounds - to my ears, anyway - trivial and silly at that speed. It's even faster than a circus-march screamer. The mind boggles.
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Format: Audio CD
...for me to review this recording. These are for me at least two special works. The Elgar Cello Concerto has been described as "the final epitaph to the romantic movement" and I wouldn't disagree with that. Who could know that one of very young performers of this piece, Jacqueline du Pré, was herself to fall victim to a crippling disease not long after this recording? EVERYTHING about this recording is superb. It's hardly surprising that few today will dare to rerecord it. I don't want to say more.
The "Enigma" variations, as the name suggests. have remained a mystery ever since they were composed. The style is Brahms, no question, but the tone is well, mysteriously light. If has often been suggested, this sublime Theme and Variations is a portrait of Elgar's friends and lovers, then it is surely unique in music and will go on being listened to for ever. Wonderful performance, a perfect record.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Firstly, every good thing written about Jacqueline's playing is completely true. She is a gifted musician. The recording quality is excellent, too. The only problem is the constant coughing and sneezing from the audience or orchestra. It's possibly the worst I've heard in a recording. These aren't little dry throat coughs, these are the kinds of coughs people usually go get antibiotics to treat. The problem is you don't hear the coughing in the short sample for the tracks so you don't know they are there until you buy them.
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Format: Audio CD
Personally, I think this live performance of Elgar's Cello Concerto, with Daniel Barenboim, is the most profound and moving of all. There's an uncanny rapport between the cellist and the orchestra, and the longer pauses in crucial moments, especially in the slow movement and the finale, only increase the sense of deep Elgarian longing and inevitability of fate. It is a miracle that they manage the perfect marriage of expressive freedom and noble control.

The performance of Enigma Variations already shows the signs of Barenboim's greatness as a conductor to come. Again, he captures all the subtle nuances and deep lyricism of the music, allowing each voice of the orchestra much freedom to express, while his intellectual grasp of the architecture of the whole work never wavering. There is a timeless quality in this performance, as well as in the cello concerto and Elgar's two symphonies, also available from Sony.
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Cello Cto: Variations - Pomp & Circumstance 1 & 4
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