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  • Elgar: Enigma Variations / Peacock Variations / Paganini Variations
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Elgar: Enigma Variations / Peacock Variations / Paganini Variations


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Audio CD, October 14, 1997
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Product Details

  • Orchestra: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Georg Solti
  • Composer: Edward Elgar, Zoltan Kodaly, Boris Blacher
  • Audio CD (October 14, 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Decca
  • ASIN: B0000042FT
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #277,216 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Variations on a Hungarian folksong, 'The Peacock' ('Felszállott a páva'), for orchestra
2. Variations on a Theme of Paganini for orchestra, Op. 26
3. Enigma Variations, for orchestra, Op. 36: Enigma: Andante
4. Enigma Variations, for orchestra, Op. 36: 1. (C.A.E.): L'istesso tempo
5. Enigma Variations, for orchestra, Op. 36: 2. (H.D.S.-P.): Allegro
6. Enigma Variations, for orchestra, Op. 36: 3. (R.B.T.): Allegretto
7. Enigma Variations, for orchestra, Op. 36: 4. (W.M.B.): Allegro di molto
8. Enigma Variations, for orchestra, Op. 36: 5. (R.P.A.): Moderato
9. Enigma Variations, for orchestra, Op. 36: 6. (Ysobel.): Andantino
10. Enigma Variations, for orchestra, Op. 36: 7. (Troyte.): Presto
11. Enigma Variations, for orchestra, Op. 36: 8. (W.N.): Allegretto
12. Enigma Variations, for orchestra, Op. 36: 9. (Nimrod.): Adagio
13. Enigma Variations, for orchestra, Op. 36: 10. Intermezzo (Dorabella): Allegretto
14. Enigma Variations, for orchestra, Op. 36: 11. (G.R.S.): Allegro di molto
15. Enigma Variations, for orchestra, Op. 36: 12. (B.G.N.): Andante
16. Enigma Variations, for orchestra, Op. 36: 13. Romanza (***): Moderato
17. Enigma Variations, for orchestra, Op. 36: 14. Finale (E.D.U.): Allegro - Presto

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Marcus K. Maroney on December 29, 2004
The Blacher is a great piece, easily the equal of Rachmaninoff's variations on the same theme. The jazzy passages are brought off with panache by the Viennese musicians. The Kodaly is a reading that highlights the dynamic and orchestrational contrasts in the work - it is quick and doesn't dwell anywhere, lending an almost neoclassical feel to the score. The Elgar is a winning rendition - I'm not quite sure what kind of system the reviewer who said the timpani weren't very audible was using, but on my relatively inexpensive one, they are very audible and thrilling where appropriate. Some buyers might be seeking a version with a slow, schmalzy performance of the celebrated "Nimrod" variation - this one flows beautifully and builds to a tremendous climax but doesn't wallow. The recorded sound is all-around splendid - warmer and fuller throughout all ranges than Solti's Chicago recording of this piece.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 20, 1999
Solti has a special sense for this music as well as special relatioship with the Vienna Phil. This combination results in some marvelous muisc. This Enigma far outruns his Chicago Sym. version-there is more warmth in the palying and a much less hurried pace.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mike G. on July 28, 2005
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For this review I will concentrate mostly on the Elgar. I am less familiar with the Kodaly and the Blacher, but I have heard both before and Solti does justice to both of the pieces. Other reviews might be more enlightening concerning them.
Sir Georg Solti, despite being Hungarian, could compete with any Englishman conducting English music. He has a certain style with Elgar that is unique - muscular and dramatic yet very crisp. This recording is no exception of that. The CD as a whole seems to have a sort of international theme about it, and Solti's interpretation of Enigma seems to have an international feel as well. Of course, this is what happens when you have a Hungarian conducting English music played by an Austrian orchestra. Again, quite unique sounding.
There were only a couple things that troubled me. I don't think I need to discuss them thoroughly. There were some interpretation issues that I didn't quite agree with. Also, the Vienna Philharmonic didn't seem too comfortable with Solti's style, or at least they weren't quite used to it (they are very together in Gardiner's studio performance from a couple years later). As a result there are some ensemble issues and resulting dynamic problems. All of this is probably due to the fact that the performances were recorded live. A studio performance I'm sure would have made a big difference. Solti made one with Chicago earlier in his career, but from what I've heard and from what other reviewers are saying, it still isn't as good as this one. One might imagine what a Solti/London Philharmonic Enigma would sound like. He did all of his other Elgar recordings with them, and they are more experienced with the music.
Everything else I appreciate immensely. The sound is spectacular, just what one would expect from London/Decca.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mr Bassil A MARDELLI on April 19, 2008
The Hungarian-British Georg Solti was one of the prominent conductors in the twentieth century. In 1971 Sir Solti was awarded Honorary Order of the British Empire. In addition, many times he received Grammy Awards on his superior orchestral and operatic conducting skills chiefly derived from experience and hard work.

Solti was born in Hungary-Budapest (1912) - his mother country - where he mastered the piano at Franz Liszt Academy. His father decided to change the surname from "Stern" to Solti in order to guard against possible anti-Semitic feelings.

Solti's first appearance as full-fledged conductor was in 1938 at the Budapest Opera House where he performed Mozart's - The Marriage of Figaro, just one year prior to the eruption of the Second World War.
He fled Hungary to Switzerland - 1937 - following upon the initial drums of WWII.
In Switzerland he continued his career as pianist, with very little conducting.

Solti's agreement with Los Angeles Philharmonic to be music director opened the door for more conduction performances to come, however, one year after, he resigned his post in protest to the appointment of Zubin Mehta - at 26 - as assistant conductor without his knowledge,(subsequently, Mehta took Solti's job as music director)......

Thereafter he spent most of his time in the United Kingdom where he was appointed music director at the Royal Opera House until 1971. ((His cohorts dubbed him The Screaming Skull because he grew bold-headed and due to his persistent demanding rehearsal style)).
Perhaps he wanted to be as perfectionist emulating Herbert von Karajan.

Solti missed the 1000 distinctive mark by only one.
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