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  • Elgar: Enigma Variations; Pomp & Circumstance Marches Nos. 1-5
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Elgar: Enigma Variations; Pomp & Circumstance Marches Nos. 1-5

7 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 25, 1990
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Editorial Reviews

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André Previn elicits beautiful playing from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in his account of the Enigma Variations, and projects a darker, more subdued view of the score than does Sir Adrian Boult. This is a reading of substantial cumulative power, convincing through and through, and distinguished by the velvety sound of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Previn's treatment of the marches, while not exactly fiery, is genial and warm. Rhythms are nicely sprung, and the readings have a relaxed, almost playful quality about them, although they take on plenty of gravity where appropriate. The digital sound is excellent and of a wide range. --Ted Libbey


1. Vars on an Original Theme, Op. 36 'Enigma': Theme (Andante)
2. Vars on an Original Theme, Op. 36 'Enigma': 1. C.A.E. (L'istesso tempo)
3. Vars on an Original Theme, Op. 36 'Enigma': 2. H.D.S.-P. (Allegro)
4. Vars on an Original Theme, Op. 36 'Enigma': 3. R.B.T. (Allegretto)
5. Vars on an Original Theme, Op. 36 'Enigma': 4. W.M.B. (Allegro di molto)
6. Vars on an Original Theme, Op. 36 'Enigma': 5. R.P.A. (Moderato)
7. Vars on an Original Theme, Op. 36 'Enigma': 6. Ysobel (Andantino)
8. Vars on an Original Theme, Op. 36 'Enigma': 7. Troyte (Presto)
9. Vars on an Original Theme, Op. 36 'Enigma': 8. W.N. (Allegretto)
10. Vars on an Original Theme, Op. 36 'Enigma': 9. Nimrod (Adagio)
11. Vars on an Original Theme, Op. 36 'Enigma': 10. Intermezzo: Dorabella (Allegretto)
12. Vars on an Original Theme, Op. 36 'Enigma': 11. G.R.S. (Allegro di molto)
13. Vars on an Original Theme, Op. 36 'Enigma': 12. B.G.N. (Andante)
14. Vars on an Original Theme, Op. 36 'Enigma': 13. Romanza: *** (Moderato)
15. Vars on an Original Theme, Op. 36 'Enigma': 14. Finale: E.D.U. (Allegro - Presto)
16. Pomp and Circumstance, Op. 39: No.1 in D
17. Pomp and Circumstance, Op. 39: No.2 in a
18. Pomp and Circumstance, Op. 39: No.3 in c
19. Pomp and Circumstance, Op. 39: No.4 in G
20. Pomp and Circumstance, Op. 39: No.5 in C

Product Details

  • Orchestra: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Andre Previn
  • Composer: Edward Elgar
  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Philips
  • ASIN: B0000040YD
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #133,130 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Martin Selbrede on January 9, 2008
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I grew up on Toscanini's Enigma Variations, and have enjoyed the interpretations by Slatkin, Barbirolli, Boult, and the new LSO Live release with Sir Colin Davis. (We'll leave Bernstein's BBC Phil fiasco out of the discussion.) I've heard others as well, but encountered Ted Libbey's recommendation for this CD in his informative NPR book and thought I'd give it a whirl.

Mind you, I had just visited an audiophile store with the LSO-Davis CD to test out the top-line system in the demo room, telling the proprietor that it was probably the best Enigma I'd encountered. Two days later, THIS disc arrives in the mail, and I end up eating my words. And, contra Libbey, I think he placed his two recommendations in the wrong order (he puts Boult before Previn). I'd take Previn before any other interpretation at this point. Interpretation-wise, sonically, emotionally, in respect to detail -- this version has it all. And it's inexplicably out of print, while Bernstein's version (which made Norman Lebrecht's list of the 20 Worst Recordings Of All Time) remains in print in three different editions! Is there not a God?

It's time Philips resurrected this singular achievement in Elgar recording. By the way, I had planned to go to bed after hearing the Enigma, but let the first Pomp & Circumstance march start. Transfixed by how Previn had breathed new, vivid life into it, I ended up listening through all five marches. For once someone didn't just phone it in.

I can't recommend this disc highly enough -- and I had just purchased the Barbirolli (in the Elgar Edition box set) and the Davis version two weeks before I bought this one, thinking I really didn't need another Enigma but let's put Libbey's recommendation to the test.

On this one, you can trust Libbey.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Marty Wekser on September 14, 2010
I echo the same sentiments about the Andre Previn/Royal Philharmonic Orchestra being a superb recording of both Enigma Variation and Pomp & Circumstance. It is sad this CD is out-of-print. To compare this with another highly recommended in-print version by Sir Adrian Boult and Sir John Barbirolli conducting the London Symphony Orchestra and London Philharmonic Orchestra respectively, to my ears the performances on the Previn disc are vastly superior. To my ear, the orchestra under Previn plays with a lot more passion and gusto so I think this is definitely the superior recording.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Paul Carlson on March 18, 2013
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This recording sets the gold standard for the Enigma Variations and the Pomp and Circumstance Marches. An excellent reading, superb sound and clear recording make this a recording that can be heard again and again without becoming tiresome. If you desire a marvelous listening experience, search out this recording (even though it is out of issue there are some collectors who will part with their CD).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By P-F on June 2, 2013
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I purchased this recording for the Pomp & Circumstance Marches, but the truly outstanding part of this CD is the Enigma Variations. They are clear and movingly beautiful.
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